Experts assess Trump’s 7-point healthcare plan
5. Require price transparency from all healthcare providers.
Hoagland calls this component a “laudable goal.”
“What is not clear from the Trump proposal is how it would alter what is currently happening organically in the market place today and how it would require private-contractual arrangements between stakeholders to reveal their prices. One could envision such a proposal leading to a government-wide price fixing mechanism,” he says.
“Trump’s proposal is to make price comparisons very easy to understand and allow consumers to make an educated decision regarding their health plan purchase,” Johnson says. “Hopefully this will go beyond an exchange where consumers buy health insurance and will translate down to hospital transparency where the majority of healthcare dollars are spent. Think about this: Our most vulnerable time is when a doctor recommends we check into a hospital. The last thing we think of, even if we thought we were knowledgeable about it, is price. The result is a inefficiency that has been exploited in a very spectacular fashion.”
Mack believes that price transparency among providers focuses on costs, and not on innovation and entrepreneurship.
“The exclusive focus on price transparency does not address network adequacy [e.g., narrow networks], antitrust issues [e.g., mergers of organizations to fix prices below market rates to buy business—antitrust is a federal authority], or increasing access for patients seeking healthcare,” Mack says. “There is no mention of quality transparency. An organization may be the cheapest, but the lowest quality. Price transparency should reward the highest quality, most cost-effective healthcare.”