Washington, D.C. –U.S. Representatives Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) and Mike Gallagher (WI-08) introduced bipartisan legislation to require all medical providers including insurance and drug companies to publicly disclose costs for all products, services and procedures.
“Patients should have the information they need in order to make informed decisions about their healthcare. Patients are required to know the risks before consenting to any given medical procedure, but they are often forced to make big decisions about their healthcare without any idea of the cost,” said Perlmutter. “This bill will improve transparency and accountability in the healthcare market as well as help to drive competition and bring down prices. Consumers and patients having the ability to make informed decisions is a key piece of the healthcare puzzle.”
Rep. Gallagher said, “Left or right, both sides of the aisle can agree that fixing the underlying problems of healthcare in America is one of the most urgent tasks we face. I’m proud to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation that brings transparency and accountability to the healthcare market in order to help drive down rising healthcare costs.” Rep. Gallagher continued, “This bill is a critical step in lowering costs, improving outcomes and increasing competition in healthcare for the American people.”
H.R. 2569 requires all price disclosures to be available at the point of purchase, in print and online, and include all wholesale, retail, subsidized, discounted or other prices accepted. If providers fail to comply with these requirements, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would have the authority to investigate the matter and assess civil fines or other civil penalties.
Currently, Colorado is one of 17 states to compile health care pricing information in an All Payer Claim Database (APCD). However, this information isn’t made completely available to the public and does not allow consumers to identify prices charged or the compensation paid by a particular provider. Wisconsin currently utilizes the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO), which was voluntarily created in 2005. H.R. 2569 would improve the data collection and make all information collected publicly available.
When selecting an insurance carrier, consumers receive very little information about the costs of various procedures at their local hospitals and healthcare providers. When selecting a provider and a hospital for a non-emergent procedure, patients are unable to compare prices. Prices for health care are opaque, which leads to fraud and market manipulation. With transparent prices, consumers can scrutinize the price of tests, drugs and procedures before making a purchase. Transparency in pricing will also deliver better quality of care as providers will seek to provide higher quality services.