President Trump wants you to see upfront prices for health care. That’s why a few months ago, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently published a request for comments about whether and how to end secret prices in health care. The deadline for comments was last week, and the submissions from the industries most threatened by consumers knowing and comparing prices — hospitals and insurance companies — are an exercise in Swamp-o-nomics.
John Desser, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs at eHealth Inc. and former HHS official, said, “Any effort to bring more visibility and data to the consumer on health care costs is a step in the right direction. Health care is just far too opaque, and so anything we can do to address that is a step in the right direction — but there will be some controversy. There will be entrenched interests that will try to oppose it.”
“Specifically, we are concerned about proposals for open-ended arbitration, which have been floated as a solution to the problem. If arbitration appears innocuous, it is to a large extent because it is not transparent. Experience suggests that arbitration would be cumbersome to deploy, and highly favorable to those health care providers who charge high prices today. If Congress were to endorse arbitration, it could potentially open the door to a system quite unintended – establishing an inflationary dynamic that accommodates and encourages the rapid growth of costs.”