Pricing Transparency – The Future of Healthcare

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Pricing Transparency – The Future of Healthcare

On Tuesday June 23rd 2020, a federal judge issued a ruling requiring hospitals to disclose prices they quietly negotiate with insurers. 

This is unequivocally a victory for The White House in efforts to make healthcare pricing more transparent to patients.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington, D.C. said the rule was reasonably related to the government’s interest in lowering healthcare costs and giving consumers more pricing data to help them decide on treatment.

He rejected a claim by the American Hospital Association and other hospital groups that the rule would force them to disclose private negotiations with insurers, undermining competition and violating their First Amendment free speech rights.

The rule is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2021.

In a statement, the AHA said it is planning an expedited appeal. Stating the rule does not help patients understand their true costs, and imposes heavier burdens on hospitals. 

Alex Azar, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, in a statement called the decision “a resounding victory” in the Trump administration’s push for lower healthcare costs.

“Especially when patients are seeking needed care during a public health emergency, it is more important than ever that they have ready access to the actual prices of healthcare services,” Azar said.

This ruling could potentially affect the healthcare system. Given the AHA is going to appeal it still as of now stands as the future of healthcare. 

Most are sided with the patients considering the patients have long complained about being blindsided with surprise medical bills after undergoing treatment.

But the administration officials have said that hospitals should be upfront with patients about treatment costs.

It’s important to add the hospital groups have said requiring disclosure of negotiated charges “would create confusion about patients’ out-of-pocket costs, not prevent it.”

Given the recent COVID-19 pandemic, there are ways to stimulate the economy other than spending trillions of more taxpayer dollars.

Lowering out of control health care costs, which are an enormous burden on the nation, would boost patients’ pocketbooks, employers’ balance sheets, and governments’ budgets. 

Alll of which are under tremendous pressure due to the coronavirus-induced economic crisis.

Lawmakers can dramatically lower health care costs and stimulate the economy. 

This would be at no cost to the taxpayer, by including a systemwide health care price transparency provision in the forthcoming “Phase 4” coronavirus relief legislation. 

Given we are in uncertain times, the future of healthcare simply lies in the laws passed by the government. 

Unless the AHA is able to win its appeal, otherwise the law will go into effect on January 1, 2021.

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