MIND_AND_I

Newell: Trump accomplished step one in healthcare transparency but can he conquer lobbyists?

Newell Normand
June 26, 2019 - 5:52 am

We - American healthcare consumers - continue to experience frustration when we try to do one simple thing - discover how much emergency hospital care will cost.  Should be pretty straight forward, right?  Unfortunately, all of us, who navigate the healthcare system in all of its machinations, know it’s not. 

Rising costs in this category have created a strong desire among consumers (from Gen Z to Gen Xers to Baby Boomers and beyond) to price shop services between hospitals.  This desire that stems from immense frustration energized us - the healthcare customers - to pressure the Trump administration to empower consumers.  The quest is for 2 things:  the ability to receive cost figures reflected in contracts of hospitals, vendors and health insurance companies, before we agree to a treatment, surgery or service, and hospitals and insurers would have to provide consumers with out of pocket cost estimates, while preparing for non-emergency medical care. 

You have often heard me say, Information is power.”  And, certainly it is never more important than when we are managing the costs of healthcare.  The Trump administration should be commended for accomplishing this first step - the easy one. 

The second step - the difficult one - is where the Trump administration will have to beat back the stench of the swamp…they’ll have to neutralize the influencers - lobbyists who will try to influence the rule making process.  The old cliché’ the devil is in the details certainly applies here.

In the end - let’s hope the energy put forth by healthcare consumers is rewarded during the rule making process.  Hopefully, transparency…full disclosure by hospitals, insurance companies and big pharma…will be achieved and the final words of the final chapter are “mission accomplished!” 

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