Today, I signed this letter with other free market economic and business leaders arguing that health care price transparency should be included in the next COVID-19 relief package. It is being sent to President Trump, White House officials, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as other leaders in the Republican Party.
As Congress begins formulating the next COVID-19 relief legislation, you are rightly focused on measures to improve Americans’ health and economic well-being. You should include critical systemwide health care price transparency to further both aims. Transparency is needed now more than ever with the global coronavirus pandemic that has inflicted abrupt hardships on many Americans.
By requiring hospitals to post real prices and insurers to disclose reimbursement rates before care is delivered, policymakers help patients better evaluate their options, employers design health benefits, and over time provide a substantial economic boost from a less costly health care system without any cost to taxpayers. One economic study in JAMA estimated that fixing pricing problems could save Americans up to $90 billion a year and help reduce health care waste that runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
Healthcare price transparency is a simple way to drive down prices by equipping Americans with the information they need to better shop for healthcare and coverage. Americans are currently shopping blind and this needs to change. People need to know what they are paying for their care before they receive it. Healthcare price opacity and the resulting surprise bills are why 64 percent of Americans surveyed said they avoid, or delay needed medical care. Improved shopping from patients and employers will create a more competitive, functional market.
Nearly 90 percent of Americans support health care price transparency. Now is the time to answer the call of the people, help patients and employers be better purchasers of care, and protect families from price gouging and surprise billing, while at the same time supporting the economy.
Without price transparency, there is a lack of accountability for insurers and hospitals. We need accountability, and we need to help patients, employers, and taxpayers get better value from health care sector. We need your leadership to help pass the legislation S. 4106 The Healthcare PRICE Transparency Act, in this forthcoming COVID legislative package. This bill would force hospitals and insurers to disclose real prices. This is commonsense legislation that simply requires that the health care industry provide consumers and patients with the same information that every other industry provides.
Health care price transparency is the best, most free market, and least administratively burdensome way to lower health care spending while improving quality and outcomes. We urge you to enact this policy initiative to help American families and businesses and start fixing our broken and costly healthcare system.
Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Ken Blackwell, Former State Treasurer of Ohio and former Mayor of Cincinnati
Brian Blase, CEO of Blase Policy Strategies and Former Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
Steve Forbes, Chairman and CEO of Forbes Media
Arthur Laffer, Founder and Chairmen of Laffer Associates
Stephen Moore, Co-Founder of Committee to Unleash Prosperity
Alfredo Ortiz, President and CEO of Job Creators Network
Larry Van Horn, Professor of Economics and Executive Director of Health Affairs at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Business