President Donald J. Trump on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, announced new regulations on health care pricing that will unveil obscure health care prices.
Under the new rule, hospitals and health insurance providers are required to disclose the prices for common tests and various medical procedures. The aim for the new ruling is to provide consumers with more information about what they pay for medical services, to promote competition, and drive down costs.
“First, we are finalizing the rule that will compel hospitals to publish prices publicly online for everyone to see and to compare,” said President Trump.
“So you’re able to go online and compare all of the hospitals and the doctors and the prices and I assume get resumes on doctors and see who you like,” added President Trump.
The Trump administration said the new policies would create an open and transparent health care system.
“We’re giving American families control of their health care decisions and the freedom to choose that care is right before them when the Internet and elsewhere,” said President Trump.
“That’s why it’s called transparency,” President Trump added, as people will know how much they will have to pay before receiving medical care and they can compare prices at other hospitals.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tweeted, “We’re delivering A+ healthcare transparency for Americans, shining light on the costs of our shadowy system…”
We’re delivering A+ healthcare transparency for Americans, shining light on the costs of our shadowy system. You should have the right to know how much a healthcare service is going to cost before you receive it. pic.twitter.com/KKcKyRQdJu
— Secretary Alex Azar (@SecAzar) November 15, 2019
The new regulation will stop “American patients from just getting pure and simple,” said President Trump, who added that the new system will prevent people from being “ripped off because they’ve been ripped off for years, for a lot of years.”
The sweeping regulations encountered strong objections from the health care industries, although the disclosure requirements for hospitals would not take effect until 2021.
For health insurance companies, the timing for disclosure of pricing details is not explicitly stated. Neither does the new rules directly impact doctors.
Groups that represent hospitals and insurance companies criticized the new regulations, with some major hospitals announcing that hospitals would challenge the latest regulations in court.
The regulations highlighted existing health care pricing and allowed informed patients to seek quality medical services at the lowest cost.
For instance, the price for an MRI scan could vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on where the scan is done.
Insurers would have to create individualized estimates of what patients would owe out-of-pocket due to deductibles and copayments.
However, health insurers and hospitals argued that the push for disclosure and transparency go too far.
They stated that with the latest regulations, the government would compel them to publicly disclose rates they had negotiated as part of private contracts generally beyond the purview of various authorities.