The murky world of hospital pricing would be exposed to more sunlight under a bill approved this week by state lawmakers.

The legislation calls for the state-run employee health plan to annually publish details of its spending on hospital care, which is the predominant driver of rising health costs nationwide.

The report is meant to document the prices that individual hospitals charge for various services – basic information that consumers and policymakers need, but which is normally hidden from public view.

The bill – sponsored by Sen. Andrew Gounardes, D-Brooklyn, and Assembly Member Michaelle Solages, D-Valley Stream – was unanimously approved by the Senate on May 30 and passed the Assembly by a vote of 143-2 on Monday.

The legislation was the brainchild of the 32BJ Health Fund, a benefit plan for unionized building service workers which has identified hospital charges as the “leading driver” of rising health costs for its members.

The 32BJ Health Fund has also led the push for a similar reporting on hospital spending by the City of New York.

A 2022 study by the fund, based on its own claims data, found that six of the city’s biggest not-for-profit hospital systems – NewYork-Presbyterian, NYU Langone, Northwell, Mount Sinai, Montefiore and Maimonides – charged significantly more for common procedures than hospitals owned by the city or by major medical centers in Boston.

For example, delivery of a baby by Cesarean section typically cost more than $45,000 at NewYork-Presbyterian, compared to $27,000 at Boston Medical Center and $18,000 at a New York City Health + Hospitals facility.

The Albany legislation would generate a similar analysis of hospital spending by the New York State Health Insurance Plan, or NYSHIP, which covers state and local government employees and retirees and their family members.

With 1.2 million members, NYSHIP reported paying $10.3 billion in claims in 2021, 41 percent of which went toward hospital care.

If the bill is signed by Governor Hochul, the first report on NYSHIP’s hospital spending would be due from the Department of Civil Service on Jan. 1, 2024.

New York’s overall hospital spending is high and rising fast. As of 2020, the state’s per capita hospital costs were 43 percent higher than the national average, up from 22 percent five years earlier.


About the Author

Bill Hammond

As the Empire Center’s senior fellow for health policy, Bill Hammond tracks fast-moving developments in New York’s massive health care industry, with a focus on how decisions made in Albany and Washington affect the well-being of patients, providers, taxpayers and the state’s economy.

Read more by Bill Hammond

You may also like

One of New York’s Biggest Medicaid Contractors Is Quietly Acquiring a Competitor

Author's note: This post has been updated to correct an error in the second paragraph. As state lawmakers debate the future of Medicaid home care, one of the program's bigg Read More

New York’s Home Health Workforce Jumped by 12 Percent in One Year

New York's home health workforce has continued its pattern of extraordinary growth, increasing by 62,000 jobs or 12 percent in a single year, according to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Read More

While New York’s Medicaid Budget Soared, Public Health Funding Languished

Four years after a devastating pandemic, the state has made no major investment to repair or improve its public health defenses. While funding for Medicaid over the past four years Read More

A Medicaid Grant Recipient Sponsors a Pro-Hochul Publicity Campaign

While much of the health-care industry is attacking Governor Hochul's Medicaid budget, at least one organization is rallying to her side: Somos Community Care, a politically active medical group in the Bronx that recently r Read More

New Jersey’s Pandemic Report Shines Harsh Light on a New York Scandal

A recently published independent review of New Jersey's pandemic response holds lessons for New York on at least two levels. First, it marked the only serious attempt by any state t Read More

A Politically Active Medical Group Gets $29 Million in ‘Distressed’ Provider Funds

State officials awarded $29 million in 'distressed' provider funding to a politically active medical group in the Bronx, state records confirm. a network of physicians and other he Read More

Albany Lawmakers Push a $4 Billion Tax on Health Insurance

Legislative leaders are proposing an additional $4 billion tax on health insurance plans in the upcoming state budget – but withholding specifics of how it would work. Read More

Loss of Patients and Revenue Foreshadowed Downsizing for SUNY Downstate

The SUNY-owned hospital in Brooklyn facing a newly announced downsizing plan has seen its patient volume and revenue plunge over the past decade, according to a review of its financial reports. Read More