President Trump Signs Executive Order on Transparent Medical Billing

Henrietta Brewer
June 27, 2019

President Trump signed an executive order Monday on price transparency in health care that aims to lower rising health care costs by showing prices to patients.

The health care executive order comes shortly after Mr. Trump announced new sanctions on Iran, this time on its supreme leader and his office, over multiple Iranian actions the USA interprets as aggressive and unsafe.

EMPOWERING PATIENTS WITH INFORMATION: Our healthcare system has long hid the true cost of care, keeping critical information from patients' hands and limiting competition.

"This lack of price transparency has enriched industry giants greatly, costing Americans hundreds of billions of dollars a year".

He said that his actions were "truly historic" but questioned whether the "fake news" would agree.

The idea is to give patients practical information that they can use to save money. For example, if a hospital charges your insurer $3,500 for a type of echocardiogram and the same test costs $550 in a doctor's office, you might go for the lower-price procedure to save on copays.

"More price transparency will mean more competition", the president said. But it sets in motion several new rules HHS and other federal agencies will write and gives Trump a set of pro-consumer talking points in the first week after he formally announced his reelection campaign. Right now, it's hard, even with some of the tools available, said Lovisa Gustafsson, assistant vice president at the Commonwealth Fund, which has looked at whether patients use existing tools or the list price information hospitals must post online. That will involve a complex give-and-take with hospitals, insurers and others affected.

While the order itself is light on specifics, it directs the Department of Health and Human Services to start the rulemaking process to require that providers divulge the prices that patients and insurers pay in a readable format.

Trump called the order "the opposite of Obamacare" and invoked former President Barack Obama's line about "keeping your doctor", describing it as a "lie".

The president also took a jab at Sen.

"Democrats in Congress support Bernie Sanders' socialist takedown of American health care", Trump said. Administration officials say President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Monday that calls for hospitals to disclose upfront actual prices for common tests and procedures. It's confusing for patients, and experts say it's also one of the major factors that push up US costs. "But publicly disclosing competitively negotiated, proprietary rates will reduce competition and push prices higher - not lower - for consumers, patients, and taxpayers".

Administration officials say they want patients to have access to more information, including "advance EOBs" that outline anticipated costs before patients get nonemergency medical care.

Mr. Azar said that's nonsense, pointing to the explanation of benefits that patients receive in the mail after they've accepted services.

"Every time any one of us goes to a doctor or a hospital, within a couple of weeks in our mailbox arrives an explanation of benefits". "This is not some great state secret out there".

They argue that it would be more helpful to provide information about what patients may owe, not the total amount the insurance company will pay.

Although the order has anxious insurance providers, the Trump administration has tasked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with deciding how much information should be released.

But some in the health industry are concerned about the Trump administration's approach, which would require disclosure of negotiated prices.

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