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Price Transparency in Health Care: The Consumer Opportunity
AEI
2024.06.07
With the right rules, transparent pricing for medical services, which has bipartisan support, could lower health care costs without harming quality. Regulations forcing providers to disclose their charges online have exposed arbitrary pricing disparities that affected payers can now, with some effort, identify and resist. New legislation under development in Congress, if approved, would codify and improve these rules, but stronger incentives for consumers would make this legislation even more effective. To forcefully jump-start a patient-led market transformation, Congress should require service providers to specify pricing for consumer-focused standardized bundles. These bundles would cover all the costs for discrete, high-volume procedures and routine primary and preventive care. Existing public and private initiatives offer relevant models of the needed standardization protocols. Insurance coverage must be coordinated with these rules to ensure patients always benefit financially when choosing lower-priced providers.