Trump demands transparency on healthcare costs: 7 things to know

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that aims to lower healthcare costs by improving price transparency.

Seven things to know:

1. The order, signed June 24 at the White House, directs HHS to develop rules requiring hospitals to publish prices "that reflect what people actually pay for services in a way that's clear, straightforward and accessible to all," said President Trump.

2. It should also "require healthcare providers and insurers to provide patients with information about the out-of-pocket costs they'll face before they receive healthcare services," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said before the order was signed, according to NPR.

3. The overall thought behind the order is that price variation exists among healthcare facilities for the same service, and patients need information to find the cheapest and highest quality care. The administration expects the order to promote competition for health services and lower healthcare costs.

4. President Trump said: "For too long it's been virtually impossible for Americans to know the real quality and price of healthcare services and the services they receive. As a result, patients face significant obstacles shopping for the best care at the best price, driving up healthcare costs for everyone. With today's historic action, we are fundamentally changing the nature of the healthcare marketplace. This is bigger than anything we've done in this particular realm."

5. Details about how the rules called for in the order would work remain unclear, but they could prompt healthcare to operate more in a way where patient behavior is driven by quality and price, NPR said.

6. CMS Administrator Seema Verma welcomed the order. Her statement says she is excited to implement reforms "that transform our healthcare system into one that delivers affordable and accessible healthcare and puts American patients first."

7. However, hospital and health plan lobbyists say that  public disclosure of competitively negotiated, proprietary rates would lead to higher healthcare prices, according to NPR. America's Health Insurance Plans is arguing the disclosure will reduce competition.

 

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