Politicians love private insurance. The health care industry loves private insurance.
- And so this very expensive part of the health care system will keep getting more expensive, Axios’ Bob Herman writes from at the conclusion of the JPMorgan Health Care Conference in San Francisco.
“Prices are definitely going up,” Owen Tripp, CEO of health tech startup Grand Rounds, told Bob this week at the conference.
- His company’s vast amount of commercial health data shows big increases in what companies are spending on hospitals, doctors, specialty drugs, devices and out-of-network services.
What they’re saying: Many in the industry admit price inflation has been hammering the commercial markets for years.
- “Cost per unit is the primary driver,” Cigna CEO David Cordani said. He did not mention the exploding costs of administering health insurance.
- As Bob reported earlier in the week, executives from Intermountain Healthcare acknowledged during the conference that “the No. 1 cause of personal bankruptcy is our industry” — but then plunged into telling investors all about the hospital’s strong margins.
The other side: Hospital executives said they charge commercial plans higher prices to make up for the lower rates they get from Medicare and Medicaid.
- But the evidence shows that explanation doesn’t hold water.
The bottom line: The private market is the main pot of money that everyone is chasing at the JPMorgan conference, and most in the industry don’t see the rising spending within that market as a problem.