President Donald Trump signed a historic executive order on June 24 that will require hospitals and insurers to disclose medical care prices. Once enacted, patients will for the first time in decades have an unfettered view of the ugly underbelly of the health care beast.
Those who oppose health care price transparency rely on several arguments. One is that the process of revealing prices will prove very costly and that providers will pass this supposed expense on to patients.
This argument is ridiculous. The expense, if any, of posting health care prices will be infinitesimal to providers and vastly surpassed by the benefits to be created by empowering patients with additional pricing information. Prices are readily available on nearly everything sold throughout our economy. From a 25-cent gum ball to a $40,000 SUV, prices are almost always out front, posted, and prominent in U.S. markets. Only in medical care are prices obscured until long after the service is provided, leaving the patient with almost no negotiating power to get a fair price on these “gotcha” bills.
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