Patients will find a lot more transparency in health care pricing after President Donald Trump signed an executive order he called “the opposite of Obamacare.” As of Monday, it directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create rules that benefit patients who were harmed by industry lobbyists who essentially partnered with Democrats in writing Obamacare.
“We will empower patients with the information they need to search for the lowest cost and highest quality care,” Trump said at the White House Monday afternoon, adding the executive order’s goal is to “put American patients first.”
“People have no idea how big it is. Some people say bigger than health care itself. … For too long it’s been virtually impossible for Americans to know the real price and quality of health care services and the services they receive,” Trump continued.
Trump predicted the price of health care will go “way, way down” because of anticipated HHS rules mandating hospitals and insurers publish negotiated rates for services, reported CNBC.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the executive order “will go down as one of the most significant steps in the long history of American health care reform” during a Monday phone call with reporters. He outlined five points in the order, which will translate into rules drafted by HHS:
- To require hospitals to publish prices reflecting what patients and insurers pay.
- To require health care providers and insurers to tell patients about out-of-pocket costs before they receive services.
- To simplify how federal health care programs measure quality.
- To protect patient privacy as the administration examines health care claims data.
- To direct the Treasury Department to expand how patients can use health savings accounts.
Administration officials couldn’t pinpoint when the rules directed by the executive order will go into effect during a Monday phone call with reporters.
Trump’s executive order comes after three major pharmaceutical companies sued his administration in federal court on June 14 over its rule requiring companies to disclose drug prices in television ads.
News of the suit came just after Trump touted how his administration is working with “Big Pharma” to reduce drug prices during a speech at the White House Rose Garden announcing an expansion of health reimbursement arrangements designed to help small businesses.
–By Evie Fordham