While making important contributions, a new report by the National Academy of Social Insurance proposing principals and policy options to address pricing power in health care markets “nonetheless assumes that hospital realignment is about cementing the past not preparing for the future,” writes Melinda Reid Hatton, AHA senior vice president and general counsel, in an AHASTAT blog post today. “It mostly dismisses the need for realignment to better coordinate care despite all the available evidence that coordination is exactly what consumers want and expect and what private and public payors demand,” Hatton says. The study also “focuses on hospitals nearly to the exclusion of commercial insurers, pharmaceutical giants and others in the health care arena that add to its cost beyond perceived value,” she notes. “And yet, hospital price growth is at historic lows, a fact the report dismisses by claiming that’s just too good to last in an era of consolidation. Authoritative sources might beg to differ: the most recent Altarum Institute report found ‘very low hospital price growth despite waves of consolidation.’ And, a new study by a noted economist and health care authority concludes that there is no simple statistical link between hospital prices and concentration – the story is just more complicated than that simple platitude.”