Hospital, health systems increasingly unpopular in Congress as lawmakers seek accountability

Inflation, rising healthcare costs and allegations of questionable business practices may be some of the reasons why lawmakers are increasingly pushing back on hospitals and health systems, according to a June 8 Roll Call article.

"The environment and the attitude about hospitals is probably the worst I've ever seen it, period, and I've been around a long time," said Paul Lee, senior partner and founder of consulting firm Strategic Health Care, who has worked on hospital issues for 34 years.

While congressional committees hold increasing numbers of hearings on hospital prices and consolidation practices, the specter of Medicare not being able to fully pay claims starting in 2031 looms ever larger, putting more pressure on the system, the report said.

"I definitely noticed the shift toward the end of last year of an increasing interest in looking at hospital pricing," said Spencer Perlman, managing partner and director of healthcare research at Veda Partners, noting that while lobbying groups such as the American Hospital Association would be able to stave off such pressures for a while, the 2031 date makes such efforts much harder.

Planned legislation from Congress would have negative effects on hospitals and communities, the AHA has said.

"We are aggressive in making sure every member understands what's going on in their backyard, which in many cases is their largest employer," said Stacey Hughes, AHA's executive vice president of government relations and public policy.

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