SB 977, Major Bill to Address Health Care Consolidation and Costs in California, Heads to Final Floor Votes

Today, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 977 which will ensure public oversight of health care systems that seek to merge and/or consolidate. This is especially important now due to the current pandemic and the financial struggles it has brought. 
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CONTACT:
Yvonne Vasquez, Communications Associate at Health Access California,  yvasquez@health-access.org 916-407-7078 (cell)

Anthony Wright, Executive Director at Health Access California awright@health-access.org 916-870-4782 (cell)

SB 977, MAJOR BILL TO ADDRESS HEALTH CARE CONSOLIDATION AND COSTS IN CALIFORNIA, HEADS TO FINAL FLOOR VOTES 

  • Today, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee passes SB 977, to help prevent further consolidation in our health care system and other anti-competitive practices that increases costs and limit access.
  • SB 977 (Monning) will ensure proper public oversight of takeovers of health care systems that by for-profit hospital chains, private equity and hedge funds – particularly in light of financial struggles from the current pandemic.

SACRAMENTO- Today, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 977 which will ensure public oversight of health care systems that seek to merge and/or consolidate. This is especially important now due to the current pandemic and the financial struggles it has brought.

“The current COVID-19 crisis only increases the urgency for Sutter and others to stop its anti-competitive practices that serve to inflate their prices. Now more than ever Californians need relief,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “Many California consumers already pay thousands more in premiums because of consolidation, and we need our Attorney General to have the anti-trust tools to prevent anti-competitive practices from further inflating our health costs.”

“California must ensure sustainability and affordability within our health system. Ensuring that health care systems don’t consolidate at the expense of consumers will be key now and into the future,” said Wright. “These current times cause increasing consolidation of large health care systems that if left unchecked, can result in monopoly-type anticompetitive powers that drive up the cost of care for consumers.”

“COVID-19 has created the conditions for increased consolidation of large health care systems, and if left unchecked, can result in monopoly-type anticompetitive powers that drive up the cost of care for consumers even more. As parts of the health industry become more susceptible to being bought out by big groups like private equity groups and hedge funds, we need greater oversight before the health system transforms in a way that is more consolidated and unaffordable,” said Wright. “SB 977 (Monning) would substantially strengthen the state’s oversight over the consolidation of large health care systems, helping to ensure access to affordable health care choices during a time when Californians need it the most.”
The bill, supported by consumer, patient, labor, and employer organizations, but opposed by hospitals, now heads to final floor votes. It needs to pass the full Legislature before August 31st in order to be considered for signature by the Governor.

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