Viewpoint: Price transparency will keep wages in line with inflation

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Healthcare price transparency is the key to reducing healthcare costs and increasing employee wages, an act President Joe Biden is proposing in a final federal rule, Cynthia Fisher, founder of patientrightsadvocate.org and ViaCord, wrote in Barron's Oct. 14.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the cost of the average annual employer-sponsored family health insurance premium in 2020 was $12,300, of which employees pay 25 percent through paycheck deductions. 

But workers actually pay the full premium because the money is taken out of employers' budgets for employee compensation, according to the commentary.

Premiums increased by 55 percent this past decade, but average wages only increased by 30 percent, the article said. National healthcare spending is one-fifth of gross domestic product.

But according to Ms. Fisher, healthcare price transparency allows patients and employers to choose the highest quality of care for the lowest prices and prevent overbilling. They can then share these savings with employees through higher pay.

"By strongly enforcing these rules, the Biden administration can usher in a price-transparent, pro-consumer healthcare system that reflects its broader healthcare and economic goals to increase competition and lower prices," Ms. Fisher wrote. "Doing so can reduce crushing healthcare costs and raise real employee wages, overcoming two major problems facing the country today and putting ordinary Americans on sounder financial footing emerging from the pandemic."

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