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San Francisco Health Care Costs Largest In State

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - Testimony stretched for several hours on Thursday as a San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee considered the cost of health care in the City - specifically, how it stacked up against other communities around California.

KCBS' Barbara Taylor Reports:

The bottom line, said supervisor David Campos, was that San Francisco has the highest health-related costs in the state.

"It costs a patient in San Francisco $7,349 per day, in L.A., $4,389, in San Bernardino $3,931," he rattled off comparable charges for a day in the hospital.

As far as he was concerned, hospital consolidation is to blame for the chart-topping costs in the San Francisco - specifically, the control that parent company Sutter has over a majority of hospital beds in San Francisco. He blamed that lack of competition for driving up costs for patients.

"One of those key factors is market consolidation by hospitals," he alleged, "so it's a very serious issue."

Residents testified before the committee that sky-high costs impacted their ability to seek proper medical care. Advocates for the health care industry, however, suggested that wages and other cost-of-living factors they described as unique to San Francisco contributed to medical costs in the region.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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