A bill before the Senate Health Committee would require hospitals to publicly post the charges for services
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2023
DELAFIELD, WI– The Senate Committee on Health is scheduled to hear testimony this morning on Senate Bill (SB) 328, legislation authored by Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) that aims to help lower the price of healthcare by helping consumers actually see the cost of services. IRG Action Fund supports SB 328 and is delivering testimony today urging the committee to pass the bill. Earlier this year, IRG Action was part of a coalition of leading free market advocates urging support of the legislation.
WHAT IS IT
Senate Bill 328 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health at 10:30AM this morning. SB 328 would require Wisconsin hospitals to make the cost for services publically available in a consumer-friendly format, and provides a monetary penalty for noncompliance with the new mandates. This legislation would inject free market principles into an industry that has seen costs to consumers rapidly climb.
IRG ACTION’S TAKE
“Healthcare is too expensive, and on the verge of being unaffordable for middle class families and small employers. It’s a true kitchen table issue that keeps families up at night. The bill up for a hearing today is a common sense reform that will help turn the tide on these staggering costs by empowering consumers to know how much something costs before they pay for it.”
– Alex Ignatowski, Director of State Budget and Government Reform.
WHY DOES IT MATTER
Small businesses and middle class families are having a hard time in today’s economy. High, and climbing, hospital costs are driving up insurance costs and making it even harder to make ends meet. Earlier this year, the Institute for Reforming Government (IRG) published a report that, among other items, called for price transparency as one mechanism to lower the cost of healthcare in Wisconsin. In 1999, the average annual cost of an employer sponsored healthcare plan was $5,791. The average cost is now $22,463, an almost 52% increase even after inflation is factored in. A large factor in those high insurance prices is the cost of services paid to hospitals. According to the RAND Corporation’s Hospital Price Transparency Study, Wisconsin has the fourth highest hospital prices in the nation.
SB 328 begins to give power back to the consumer. Requiring hospitals to publicly post their prices will drive competition and inform the consumer on the most elementary component of the free market – the cost of goods and services. IRG Action Fund supports this legislation and is urging lawmakers to move forward with this important bill.
The hearing today is the first step in the legislative process. The bill will need to be voted out of the committee before it can be taken up for a vote on the floor of the Senate. IRG Action will continue to advocate for SB 328 and other legislation that lowers the cost of healthcare in Wisconsin.