ALEC in Orange County Register: To empower patients, price transparency is key
Information is power in a free market system, and it is time to empower patients with price transparency in our health care system.
Across the political spectrum, lawmakers agree that paying for health care is a major concern. Health care is a $4 trillion dollar industry in the United States, and we spend more per capita than any other country in the world. With Americans’ collective medical debt at $195 billion and 64% of Americans reporting that they have avoided or delayed care out of fear of the cost, policymakers must look at new solutions.
Unlike with most other goods and services, health care is most commonly paid for by a third party—the insurer—instead of directly from patient to provider. This disconnect has resulted in fewer patients shopping around for the best price and quality of services.
Medical billing and pricing are complicated, as each patient has a unique set of circumstances. However, federal law requires hospitals to publish their chargemasters—the list of the services they provide and the cash price. But many hospitals have still figured out ways to overcharge.