Action Alert: More Sunshine on Secret Prices

Share:

Because you helped speak out — and in spite of fierce opposition by those in the health care swamp who benefit from opacity — the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized rules proposed by President Trump that, beginning in 2021, will give patients access to actual prices for care at hospitals. 

Astronomical “charge master” rates hospitals try to foist on unsuspecting patients will be exposed, once and for all, as fake prices that bear no relation to what hospitals actually accept for payment.

Building on this victory, the Trump Administration has proposed additional rules, suggested by AAPS and others, that would similarly require insurers to publicly disclose the rates they have agreed to pay for medical care.  

While more fundamental reforms are needed for lasting change, it is crucial to shine some sunlight on the secret prices that hospitals and health plans try to keep hidden from patients.

Since the health system swamp will once again be pulling out all the stops to kill President Trump’s proposal, your help is needed to help speak out in support of letting patients see the prices that will better enable them to make decisions about where they will get the best value for their dollar.

One way the special interests are already working to undermine the proposal is by pushing for future inclusion of government and industry devised “quality metrics” that increase red tape and divert dollars and time away from patient care, while simultaneously failing to measure quality and value that actually matter to the patient.

Please take action today!  Due to the high interest in this proposal, CMS has extended the comment deadline by 15 days, from January 14 to January 29.

Here’s how you can help:

1) Copy the below template comments.

(Comments are due by 5:00pm Eastern on January 29, 2020.)


Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma,

Prices of medical care are too often unknown until the patient receives the bill after the fact. I am writing today to thank and support CMS for its proposal, outlined in CMS-9915-P, that would empower patients to know the true prices of needed care and better determine the value of available options when shopping for coverage.

Access to honest and actual prices is fundamental to ensuring patient choice and ultimately reducing medical care costs. Currently, Americans are unable to make fully informed decisions and choose the care and coverage options that are best for them and their families. That is why I ask CMS to implement the proposal requiring insurers and health plans to publicly disclose, online, negotiated charges for medical items and services.

Please do not weaken the proposal to benefit special interests at the expense of patients. For example, HHS and CMS should avoid entangling beneficial price transparency with counterproductive and flawed “quality” metrics imposed from the top-down by government and health industry bureaucrats. Such metrics too often prioritize paperwork over patients and largely benefit the special interests who develop them without meaningfully informing patients. As Sec. Azar explains well, “value is best determined by markets and consumers, not arbitrary rules and central planners.” 

Thank you again for proposing changes that put patients first and rejecting policies contrary to this goal.

Sincerely,


2) After copying the above comments, visit the comment portal and paste them in to the submission box. You can then modify the comments as desired before submitting them. Please especially consider adding personal stories about how transparency has helped you or your patients and how lack of transparency has been detrimental.

The comment portal is available at: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=CMS-2019-0163-0002

Remember, comments are due by 5:00pm Eastern on January 29, 2020.