Variation in Health Care Prices Across Public and Private Payers

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      eridani
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      https://www.nber.org/papers/w27490

      We find an inverse relationship between insurer market share and negotiated prices. A 10 percent increase in insurer market share is associated with a 7 percent decrease in negotiated prices. Additionally, a 10 percent increase in insurer market share is associated with a 10 percent decrease in the standard deviation of negotiated prices at a provider. This suggests that insurers with greater market share are able to negotiate favorable payment structures that offload financial risk to the providers.

      Comment by Don McCanne of PNHP;  Health care providers are paid to provide health care. Insurers are paid to accept and manage risk of health care costs. This study indicates that insurers with greater market share are able to offload financial risk to the providers. Then why do we need private insurers? About $600 billion of administrative costs could be recovered if we got rid of the private insurers – funds which could be used to expand comprehensive health care to everyone. The government should be the logical agent to accept and manage risk and would be under single payer Medicare for All.

       

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