California bill aims to fix prices for health care services - Sovereign Health Group
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04-12-18 Category: Behavioral Health

California bill aims to fix prices for health care services

With an eye on curbing the rising health care costs, California legislators recently introduced a bill that would fix the rates for doctor visits, hospitalization, and a host of other medical services in the state. The legislation, proposed on April 9, 2018, has attracted criticism from different stakeholders in the health care sector, and has become a topic of debate against the backdrop of the growing demands of left-wing activists for a government-funded insurance program for all Californians. In recent years, legislators, the industry, employers and consumers have been at loggerheads due to the soaring health care costs.

The proposed bill is expected to impact private health plans, including those bought by individuals and provided by employers in the state. The bill mandates the governor and legislative bodies to appoint a nine-member commission to fix the prices for every possible service in the health care industry — right from a general physical examination or consultation to a major heart bypass surgery — making California the first state nationwide to have such a requirement.

“If we do not act now, I’m concerned that health care prices will become unsustainable,” said Assemblyman Ash Kalra, a Democrat from San Jose who drafted the bill. However, experts predict a major battle ahead as the bill moves to higher levels in the Legislature, where lawmakers are usually cautious when it comes to making significant modifications to the current health care system.

The proposed bill has the support of the Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union, Unite Here, and several other influential unions that are tired of the skyrocketing health care costs, which prey on a huge chunk of employee compensation. “Every dollar that we spend on rising health care prices is a dollar that comes out of a worker’s pocket,” said Sara Flocks, policy coordinator for the California Labor Federation, a union coalition. The new proposal aims to tie service costs to Medicare’s rate for a specific service or procedure, with that price forming a base rate.

Health care providers oppose the proposal

However, not everyone seems to view the new proposal positively. Health care providers believe that price controls would compel doctors to opt for early retirement or move out of the state, making it even tougher for the needy to avail services when they need it the most. Additionally, opponents also feel that such controls could force hospitals to lay off staff or shut down in certain cases. According to Dietmar Grellman, senior vice-president of the California Hospital Association, paying health care facilities almost 125 percent of Medicare’s rate will reduce the existing revenue by $18 billion, which may result in a decrease in staff headcount. Grellman also expressed concern over the siphoning off funds from the system via rate regulation, and the failure to address the huge vacuum created by Medicare and Medicaid.

If health care costs for physical problems are so high, then one can imagine the plight of people struggling with emotional and behavioral issues. Millions of Americans across the U.S. battle a wide range of mental health conditions each year, and the number does not seem to decline in the near future. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that at least one in five American adults experiences any mental problem in a given year.

Mental health is as important as physical health

The need of the hour is to invest in a comprehensive mental health plan to screen patients and diagnose the root causes of the disorder so that the affected individuals can lead a normal life. The good thing is that most of the mental disorders are treatable with timely medical intervention. So if you are grappling with any mental illness, seek immediate treatment at a reputed rehab center to prevent the condition from worsening.

Sovereign Health of California offers a variety of customized treatments for all kinds of mental disorders as well as any underlying health condition. Patients can opt for individual and group psychotherapy or alternative therapies to regain control of their lives. Our residential mental health treatment centers in California are among the best in the nation. If you or your loved one is struggling with any mental ailment, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representative to know more about our evidence-based mental health treatment.

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