Healthcare Equality and Affordability League

Get the Facts

Update (Tuesday, March 18, 2014): New Report: Financing Disparities In MA Healthcare System Create “Vicious Cycle” of Inequality

The high-quality healthcare that you and your family depend on at your local community hospital is being threatened because high-cost hospitals are paid much higher rates than community hospitals for providing the same services. If this unfair gap in rates is not reduced, local community hospitals will be forced to cut back services or close—limiting your access to high-quality care and driving up healthcare premiums for everyone.

Public Reports:
Attorney General’s 2013 Cost Trends Report

Attorney General’s 2011 Cost Trends Report

Attorney General’s 2010 Cost Trends Report

The Challenge of Disparities:
The joint project is dedicated to fixing the current disparities in the health care system which have created a two-tier system—one for privately-insured patients with higher reimbursement rates and another for publicly-insured patients whose providers are reimbursed at a much lower level. The current problem is so severe that if not addressed in the near future, it could lead to the closure of some hospitals and more providers being forced to refuse Medicaid patients because they cannot afford the losses. Evidence of this two-tier system:

  • Community hospitals are paid 40% less than Boston hospitals while providing the same high quality service.
  • The Boston Globe has made this point very clear in it’s Spotlight Series where it detailed how insurer’s pay twice as much to high cost Boston hospitals for common services – like an MRI – than they do to safety net hospitals. Same exact service, double the cost.
  • In May the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released data showing a wide disparity in costs, even for hospitals located near each other with costs for many preventative medical exams varying as much as 700%.
  • For instance – the price for treating a particular pulmonary disease was $12,443 at Carney Hospital but $52,729 at Brigham and Women’s. Same procedure – quadruple the cost.
  • This concern was echoed recently by the Attorney General Coakley’s report on health care warning that health plans are continuing to pay providers a wide range of amounts for comparable services