PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - February 26, 2021 


A new study finds big gains in living-wage jobs under Biden Infrastructure Plan; U.S. House passes major protections for LGBTQ Americans.


2021Talks - February 26, 2021 


A $15 minimum wage is out for now; Capitol Police on past and current threats; House passes major milestone for equality; and voting rights targeted across the nation.

Advocates Press for Health-Care Merger Bill Before End of Session

Downloading Audio

Click to download

We love that you want to share our Audio! And it is helpful for us to know where it is going.
Media outlets that are interested in downloading content should go to www.newsservice.org
Click Here if you do not already have an account and need to sign up.
Please do it now, as the option to download our audio packages is ending soon

Experts say hospital consolidation is a major driver in the issue of rising health care costs. (Volgariver/Adobestock)
Experts say hospital consolidation is a major driver in the issue of rising health care costs. (Volgariver/Adobestock)
August 25, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Advocates trying to drive down the cost of health care are pressing lawmakers to consider a bill to regulate for-profit health care mergers - before the end of the legislative session on Monday.

SB 977 would give Attorney General Xavier Becerra the power to review or reject mergers of for-profit health systems the same way he does now for nonprofit deals. Anthony Wright, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access, said mega mergers are a big reason why health care costs are so high, especially in the northern half of the Golden State.

"A study by UC Berkeley suggests that inpatient rates in Northern California are 79% higher than in Southern California for the same procedures. And that was largely because of the consolidation in this region," Wright said.

Groups representing hospitals and doctors oppose the bill, saying it gives the state too much power to interfere in private contracts. The bill also would give the AG more tools to pursue hospital chains for anti-competitive practices.

Wright contends mergers have given some large health care systems a near monopoly in certain counties, and he thinks the public interest -- not profit -- needs to be paramount.

"If we're going to have this consolidation transformation of our health care system, we want there to be public oversight, and not have these deals only be considered in private boardrooms," he said.

SB 977 already has been approved by the state Senate and needs a full vote of the Assembly to advance to the governor's desk.

Disclosure: Health Access contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA