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How to use the Health Care Pricing Project to take a deeper look into hospital cost variations

Joseph Burns

Writing about a new report from the Health Care Pricing Project (HCCP), Dan Gorenstein made the case that researchers now have compelling data showing that hospital consolidations drive up prices. Coverage of the HCPP report by Gorenstein and others raises an interesting question: Do we finally have game-changing data on hospital price variation?

The fact that hospital mergers drive up prices is certainly not new. But the HCPP researchers used newly released data from three large health insurers — Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare — and they controlled for factors that hospital administrators usually cite when explaining why their facilities charge more than others. It was, as Gorenstein described in his Marketplace article, “an unprecedented look at medical costs nationwide.”

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