Healthcare Price Transparency in a Privately Insured United States: Is Patient Ignorance Bliss?

(Source) It is no secret that the United States is the only industrialized nation without a single-payer universal healthcare program. Among the many issues created by the high cost of healthcare, both parties agree that unexpected, and often extremely expensive, medical bills present a serious threat to financial security in a nation where around two-thirds of individuals declare bankruptcy due to an inability to afford medical care. Despite both parties agreeing that surprise medical bills are a pressing issue, there is little agreement concerning what an appropriate solution might look like. On June 24, 2019, the Trump administration issued an executive order requiring hospitals to make negotiated pricing information accessible to the public. In November 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services, in complying with the order, created a “final rule” requiring all hospitals in the nation to publish the prices of certain procedures on their websites. The American Hospital Administration (“AHA”) and several other hospital networks subsequently filed a lawsuit challenging the administration’s authority to impose such a requirement. The AHA asserted that the rules imposed by this executive order would require more administrative positions to organize and deliver the requested pricing data, an increased cost that ultimately [read more]