Trump Executive Order on Price Transparency
Monday, June 24, 2019 President Trump signed an Executive Order to Increase Health Cost & Quality Transparency. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and several other federal departments are directed to propose regulations to improve price transparency. There are five main sections to this Order which are detailed below.
The key is all of these directives will be proposed regulations. The focus remains on pricing and how patients can be informed consumers and obtain costs in advance to avoid receiving a surprise bill later, after care is provided.
- Informing Patients About Actual Prices – This section has three subsections with multiple time ranges from 60 to 180 days.
- Directs HHS to issue proposed regulation for hospitals to publicly post standard charge information including negotiated rates in an easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly format.
- Directs the Secretaries of HHS, the Treasury, and Labor to solicit comment on how healthcare providers and health plans can make expected out-of-pocket costs available to patients prior to service by issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking.
- Directs the Secretary of HHS, in consultation of the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission to issue a report describing how the Federal Government or the private sector are impeding healthcare price and quality transparency for patients.
- Establishing a Health Quality Roadmap – This section is to be complete within 180 days.
- The Secretaries of HHS, Defense and Veterans Affairs shall develop a Health Quality Roadmap to align and improve reporting on data and quality measures across multiple government health programs and the Health Insurance Marketplace, including a strategy for common quality measurements and aligning inpatient and outpatient measures.
- Increasing Access to Data to Make Healthcare Information More Transparent and Useful to Patients – This section is to be complete within 180 days.
- The Secretary of HHS in consultation with Secretaries from multiple government agencies is directed to increase access to de-identified claims data. Access will empower patients with better information in their decision-making process related to healthcare services. Researches and entrepreneurs will be able to identify inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement.
- Empowering Patients by Enhancing Control Over Their Healthcare Resources – This section has three subsections with multiple time ranges from 120 to 180 days.
- Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to provide guidance on expanding the ability of patients to select High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) that can be used with a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA).
- Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to propose regulations to expand eligible medical expenses.
- The Secretary of the Treasury is directed to issue guidance to increase the amount of funds that can carry over annually for flexible spending arrangements.
- Addressing Surprise Medical Billing – This section is to be complete within 180 days.
- The Secretary of HHS is directed to provide a report to the President regarding additional steps that may be taken to implement principals on surprise medical billing that was announced on May 9, 2019.
These proposed regulations, hearings and discussions will continue to unfold over the next several months. There are many proponents and critics in each area from hospitals, insurance companies, providers and numerous healthcare associations.
Congress is considering several bipartisan proposals on surprise medical billing and with new directives from the Executive Order, now is the time to contact Congress. Advocacy from you as a constituent is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the message to your Senator or Representative. A personal message from a constituent is well received with Congressional offices.
There are many online resources where you can obtain contact information for your Senator or Representative.