Colorado Legislature Considering Bill to Limit Hospital Cost and Require Price Transparency

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The Colorado Legislature is considering a bill that would limit the amount hospitals can charge uninsured patients with low to moderate incomes. In addition, hospitals would be required to disclose prices of various services.

Representatives of hospitals in the state have objected to the bill saying it amounts to price fixing. They also point out that it would be very complicated to set up such a system and could unjustly harm rural facilities.

"I can't say enough how complicated this is," Cole White, chief financial officer at Middle Park Medical Center, which is part of a group of small hospitals in north-central Colorado, told legislators according to the Denver Post.

Republican lawmakers are reportedly not supporting the bill's provision to require hospitals to provide their services at cost for any uninsured patients who make less than four times the federal poverty level, agreeing with hospitals in that it amounts to price fixing. However, legislators from both parties have voiced support for greater price transparency and voiced frustration over the difficulty in creating simple price lists, especially for more expensive procedures and tests, such as diagnostic imaging.