Governor Carney Signs Bill to Control Rising Healthcare Costs

State of Delaware

DOVER, DE — Delaware Governor John Carney signed House Substitute 2 for House Bill 350 on Thursday, creating the Diamond State Hospital Review Board. The new board aims to address the rising healthcare costs that burden Delaware families and state taxpayers.

“Rising health care costs are having a significant impact on Delaware families and state taxpayers, and we’ve been committed to addressing this since the start of my time as Governor,” Carney said. He emphasized the bill’s role in controlling healthcare cost growth while maintaining quality and access. He thanked hospital systems, members of the General Assembly, and the Department of Health and Social Services for their collaboration on the legislation.

The Diamond State Hospital Review Board will consist of seven healthcare quality experts appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, plus the head of the Delaware Healthcare Association. Their task is to ensure that Delaware’s largest hospitals keep their pricing within annual benchmarks set by the state.

House Speaker Valerie Longhurst highlighted the unchecked rise in healthcare costs in Delaware, which has strained family budgets and stifled small business growth. She believes the new law will bring much-needed transparency and control over hospital pricing. “With the signing of HB 350 today, we have taken a monumental step in getting these prices under control,” Longhurst said. She expressed gratitude to Governor Carney for his prompt action in enacting the bill and looked forward to the board’s work.

Hospitals that exceed the established benchmarks will need to submit performance improvement plans. These plans must detail strategies, adjustments, and timelines for reducing costs, allowing hospitals to self-regulate without direct state intervention.

Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend described the legislation as a breakthrough for small businesses and working families in Delaware, who have faced higher healthcare costs compared to almost every other state. He noted that the law would help Delawareans manage their family budgets while ensuring that hospitals can continue providing quality care. Townsend praised the efforts of Speaker Longhurst, David Bentz at DHSS, and Governor Carney for their dedication to creating a framework that balances affordability and quality healthcare.

Josette Manning, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, called the legislation groundbreaking for its role in creating transparency around hospital costs and spending. She noted that the bill would help healthcare and government leaders make more informed decisions to improve care and contain rising costs.

With this new law, Delaware takes a significant step toward making healthcare more affordable and transparent for its residents. The Diamond State Hospital Review Board will play a crucial role in monitoring and managing hospital costs, aiming to ease financial pressures on families and small businesses while ensuring high standards of care.

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