Senator, HHS chief respond to CMS proposal on hospital price transparency

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and HHS Secretary Alex Azar are weighing in with generally positive feedback about CMS' proposed hospital price transparency rule.

Mr. Alexander said in a news release that the proposal is complementary to several provisions in the legislation he formally introduced in June with ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., to lower healthcare costs.

The Alexander-Murray legislation, which addresses surprise medical bills, healthcare cost transparency and drug prices, passed "the Senate health committee last month. We will carefully review how the proposed [CMS price transparency rule] and our legislation interact," he said.

Mr. Azar called the CMS proposal "a clear vision for healthcare."

"Providing patients with clear, accessible information about the price of their care is a vital piece of delivering on that vision, and it's what [President Donald Trump's] executive order on transparency called for earlier this summer," Mr. Azar said in a news release. "Under this proposal, hospitals will finally have to make their real, negotiated prices known to patients, enabling patients to shop among providers. Healthcare leaders across the political spectrum have been talking about the need for real transparency for years. This proposal is now the most significant step any president has ever taken to deliver transparency and put patients in control of their care."

The CMS proposed price transparency rule is part of the agency's recently released payment rules for 2020. It would require hospitals to publish the rates they negotiate with payers for hundreds of services consumers are likely to shop for in a searchable and consumer-friendly manner.


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