President Donald Trump unveiled a new rule that will force hospitals and health insurance companies to make their rates for services transparent in an effort to create competition within the marketplace, with the goal of eventually lowering health care costs for Americans.
Short of setbacks caused by expected legal challenges, the new rules for the industry are set to take effect at the beginning of 2020. If hospitals and insurance companies fail to comply, they could face a $300 per day fine, according to Fox Business.
“Our goal was to give patients the knowledge they need about the real price of health care services, so they can shop for the highest quality care at the lowest cost,” Trump said as he made the announcement at the White House on Friday.
Some of the largest players in the health care industry swiftly reacted to the announcement of the proposal, claiming that simply making prices transparent for customers probably won’t lead to the ultimate goal of lowering overall health care costs.
“Unfortunately, the rules the administration released today will not help consumers better understand what health services will cost them and may not advance the broader goal of lowering health care costs,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield Association President and CEO Scott Serota.
Under the new rules, hospitals would be forced to reveal their rates for 300 services — 70 common services which would be mandatory and 230 which the hospitals can choose to disclose or not. The rates would be posted online, giving patients quick access to shop around for the best rate, should they choose to do so. The rule also mandates that health insurance companies disclose out-of-pocket costs to consumers before a medical procedure or exam is conducted, which again gives them potential options to help them get the best price.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma applauded the Trump administration’s proposal, stating that it would give patients the upper hand when dealing with health care service costs, which are often secretive.
.@realdonaldtrump speaks to members of the media about transparency in the health care market in the Roosevelt Room on Nov. 15, 2019 at the White House. Photos by Alex Wroblewski @UPI. pic.twitter.com/1Iunf8WSNX— UPI Photos (@UPIPhotos) November 15, 2019
“This final rule and the proposed rule will bring forward the transparency we need to finally begin reducing the overall healthcare costs,” Verma said. “Today’s rules usher in a new era that upends the status quo to empower patients and put them first.”
Though health care companies seem to be against the idea of increased transparency, their shareholders enjoyed a momentous rally on Wall Street on the heels of the announcement. According to MarketWatch, health care stocks hit their highest levels in 10 months after Trump rolled out the new rules.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Trump’s announcement came on the same day that House Democrats held their second public hearing in the impeachment investigation into his dealings with Ukraine. The president attacked the witness, Marie Yovanovitch, in a tweet during the hearing, which House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff equated to “witness intimidation in real time.”