President issues executive order on price transparency
President Trump today issued an executive order aimed at improving health care price transparency and reducing costs. Most notably, the order instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a proposed regulation within 60 days requiring hospitals to “publicly post standard charge information, including charges and information based on negotiated rates and for common or shoppable items and services, in an easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly, and machine-readable format.”
“The AHA appreciates the Administration’s efforts to promote health care transparency on price and quality, and looks forward to more details as proposals are put forth,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “…While details are being developed, it’s important to note that hospitals already provide consumers with information on pricing, but publicly posting privately negotiated rates could, in fact, undermine the competitive forces of private market dynamics, and result in increased prices…. We look forward to working with the agencies as they develop specific plans with the ultimate goal of helping consumers better navigate their care.”
In addition, the executive order requires HHS and the departments of the Treasury and Labor to issue within 90 days an advance notice of proposed rulemaking soliciting feedback on a proposal to require providers, insurers and self-insured group health plans to “provide or facilitate access to information about expected out-of-pocket costs for items and services to patients before they receive care.”
The order also instructs HHS and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense to create within 180 days a roadmap to align quality metrics across federal health care programs. Pollack said the AHA “stands ready to continue to work with the Administration on aligning quality measurement requirements across the federal government to help focus on the measures that best improve health and outcomes.”
In addition, it instructs federal agencies to expand access for researchers to de-identified health care claims data from federal programs and directs the Department of the Treasury to issue guidance to expand the availability of health savings accounts to pay for more health care services.