Consumers for Fair Hospital Pricing Draws a Line in the Sand: Congress Must Put the Financial Security of Patients and Families First  - Families Usa Skip to Main Content
06.18.2024 / Press Release

Consumers for Fair Hospital Pricing Draws a Line in the Sand: Congress Must Put the Financial Security of Patients and Families First 

The Families USA-led Consumers for Fair Hospital Pricing (CFFHP) coalition is calling on Congress to pass pro-consumer policies that make hospital care more affordable, higher quality, more transparent, and more consumer-friendly for our nation’s families.  

After launching last fall as a united consumer movement determined to take on the abusive prices of big hospital corporations – a major driver of our nation’s health care affordability crisis — CFFHP’s member organizations* representing families, individuals, and health care consumers have developed a key set of legislative priorities that are critical to ensuring that everyone can get the high-quality care they deserve at a price they can afford.   

Building off the coalition’s three overarching policy goals to end hospital price-gouging, fix health care market failures, and increase transparency, these legislative priorities include critical reforms such as codifying and strengthening the Hospital Price Transparency rule, enacting comprehensive site neutral payments and honest billing reforms, and ending anti-competitive contracting practices 

CFFHP is releasing its legislative priorities just as millions of voters – many of whom are struggling with medical debt or high and rising health care costs – will head to the polls this November. The coalition joins a growing chorus of organizations calling on Congress to take decisive action right now to lower health care costs and put the needs of patients and families before the greed of big health care corporations. Earlier this month, nearly 50 organizations representing consumers, workers, employers, and providers called on the Senate Finance Committee to hold a hearing on key health care affordability solutions before the August Congressional recess. Now is the time for policymakers to advance changes that rein in the harmful business practices of hospitals and large hospital systems and bring down the skyrocketing prices of hospital care. 

“Our nation is in the midst of a health care affordability crisis driven by big hospital corporations that are jacking up the price of care, and leaving patients, families, small businesses and taxpayers with the bill,” said Yael Lehmann, interim executive director at Families USA. “It is unacceptable for Congress to stand by and do nothing while millions of families are struggling with medical debt or are foregoing medical care because they can’t afford it. Now is the time to take action against the big hospitals that have become big business, and instead stand up for better quality and more affordable health care for patients and families across this country.” 

“The charge for a hospital stay is typically the biggest bill anybody will ever get, and are deserving of greater public transparency and oversight. Hospital prices aren’t just high—they are inflated and irrational. We need to fix the market failures in hospital and health prices, so patients can get the care they need, and we don’t have families in financial ruin, and we don’t cause cuts in other community needs. We are proud that California has taken some steps to stop some price-gouging practices, but more is needed, with a national agenda,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California. 

“Too many hospital systems are putting profits over people, including so-called nonprofit hospitals,” said the Hon. Donna Christensen, M.D., the first female physician elected to Congress and Consumers for Quality Care Board Member. “As a result, Americans avoid getting the treatments and care they need out of fear of incurring serious medical debts they can’t afford to pay. We are proud to unite to advance common sense initiatives that would improve transparency in hospital practices and pricing.” 

“Health care prices don’t have to be — and shouldn’t be — so high. That’s why we’re pressing for a sustainable health care payment system that values high quality and better outcomes,” said PIRG President Faye Park. “Our coalition is committed to building consensus around achievable changes in how hospitals charge for care, so patients aren’t so adversely affected by anti-competitive practices and the increased consolidation in health care markets.”

“Hospital prices and inflated bills are an existential threat to Americans’ financial security and health, as big hospitals pad their bottom line off the backs of consumers,” said Mannat Singh, executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “Americans need policy change that will address consolidation, anti-competitive practices, and price gouging by hospitals that are driving up costs. Congress must act to protect the American people from the increasing harm of excessive hospital charges and practices.”

“As an organization that serves tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians each year, we hear from people every day who delay or forgo health care because of the cost or who are in debt simply because they received necessary medical care. Hospitals, especially large hospital systems, are a major reason for the excessive increase in healthcare costs, and it’s time that we put a stop to their unfair billing and pricing practices.” said Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network Antoinette Kraus. “We’re proud to join this coalition and work toward making sure that all patients have access to high-quality care at fair prices.”

*Consumers for Fair Hospital Pricing (CFFHP) is a coalition of leading organizations representing families, individuals and health care consumers, that have come together to take on the harmful pricing practices and anti-competitive behavior of hospitals and large hospital systems. CFFHP’s mission is to ensure that every person has access to high-quality hospital care that helps to keep them and their families healthy at a price they can afford. The founding state and national organizations include Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, Consumers for Quality Care, Families USA, Health Access California, Pennsylvania Health Access Network, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG.