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Ad campaign says Ohio State hospital expansion will mean higher costs

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(The Center Square) – A coalition of health insurers and employer groups is using a targeted ad campaign to call attention to private-public hospital expansions it says leads to higher premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

The campaign comes as the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center continues to move forward with a $1.9 billion, 1.9-million-square-foot inpatient hospital expected to open in 2026.

The private-public project includes a $50 million donation from the Wolfe family. It’s the largest capital project in Ohio State University’s history.

While Ohio State says the project will provide cutting-edge research, top-of-the-line clinical training, and world-class patient care, Better Solutions for Healthcare, a group of insurers and employers, says it will raise health care costs.

“While Wexner Medical Center officials marvel at the new $1.9 billion facility, calling it a ‘feat of engineering,’ patients and employers will be forced to pay more in health care costs as a result,” Better Solutions Executive Director Connie Partoyan said to The Center Square in an email. “We’ve seen this occur in communities across the country and view what’s happening in the Columbus region with the Wexner Medical Center as one of the most egregious examples of a hospital system prioritizing profits over patients and sending the bill to employers.”

Better Solutions includes companies and organizations such as America’s Health Insurance Plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, American Benefits Council, National Alliance for Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, Public Sector HealthCare Roundtable, National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals, and local and state business leaders.

The group is basing its ad campaign on a recent report from The Buckeye Institute, which said rising hospital costs are one of the largest single drivers of health care costs.

Rea Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center and vice president of policy at The Buckeye Institute, said in a memo that hospital costs comprise 30% of all health care spending.

Hederman said additional expenses from expanding facilities will be passed to insurers and patients.

“All the while, amenity-filled hospitals never demonstrate or deliver higher-quality care,” Hederman said.

The campaign specifically targets Ohio State’s expansion and says it will raise costs for patients, employers and taxpayers.

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