House Of Representatives To Hold Hearings On Hospital Services Pricing

On June 15, 2004, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight announced hearings on tax exemption issues. The first hearing is scheduled for June 22, 2004 and will focus on the pricing practices of tax-exempt and other hospitals. In the press release announcing the hearing, the Subcommittee indicates concern regarding the costs of providing indigent care. According to the Subcommittee, Hospitals manipulate their pricing practices to pass the costs of indigent care on to other patients, particularly government insured patients and uninsured patients. In addition, the Subcommittee indicates concern regarding what it perceives to be a lack of transparency in hospital pricing practices. The Subcommittee notes that some advocates have suggested that an increase in pricing transparency would increase competition and lower health care costs. The scheduling of the hearing reflects the current level of interest in tax-exempt organizations, particularly tax-exempt hospitals, in both houses of Congress.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation will also hold a hearing on hospital billing and collection practices on Thursday, June 24, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The hearing will be webcast through a link at:

Five representatives of hospitals and health care systems are expected to testify.

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