President Donald Trump announced two rules to improve transparency in costs for health care on Friday. Kansas’ doctor in Congress praised the move.
“We’ve been working with the White House now for three years on health care, very, very hard for the past six months,” said Kansas First District Congressman Dr. Roger Marshall. “One of my tenets to driving the cost of health care down is transparency, innovation and consumerism.”
Hospitals will be required to publish online their gross charges, payer-specific negotiated charges, the amount of cash payment discount that a hospital is willing to accept, and their maximum and minimum negotiated rates.
“This is about transparency,” said Marshall. “This is something we’ve asked the White House to do. We’re actually trying to put it into legislation, as well. It’s just that the White House can move much quicker than we do. I applaud his efforts and look forward to patients having more information allowing them to be consumers again.”
Hospitals will be expected to display online in plain consumer-friendly language the negotiated charges for 300 common shoppable services annually.
“You’ll get more information when you go out to eat tonight from a menu than you do when you get to go to your doctor,” said Marshall. “A patient would come to me and let’s say that they needed to have a C-section scheduled. They would ask me what it would cost and I would say, well, I don’t know. It just depends. It depends whether Medicare is paying for it or Medicaid or which insurance company. It is very complicated. This is going to require insurance companies working with hospitals, working with doctors to be able to fix this.”
Ideally, Marshall would like to see all the price information be available on an app, particularly in the case of elective procedures where people can make choices about who and what they receive and where they are treated.