With the recent Biden Executive Order doubling down on Trump-era price transparency requirements on hospitals and insurers, you might think that the Swampian special interests trying to keep hiding prices from patients and other purchasers of care would finally be silenced. But we know that the Swamp never sleeps. Even after the hospitals were absolutely spanked by the courts when they tried to sue Trump so as to keep hiding their secret prices, the vast majority of hospitals are out of compliance with the new requirement. And so the fight continues…
Today, AllBetter Health has released an extensive rebuttal to all the usual tired, and frankly embarrassing arguments against price transparency in health care including the following greatest hits:
MYTH 1: Price transparency won’t lower prices – it might even cause patients to choose the highest priced service thinking that it’s the best.
MYTH 2: Patients don’t need prices because health care is different – the third party system means that patients don’t really shop when they need care.
MYTH 3: Patients only need to see their own out-of-pocket costs, not the full contracted rate for all payers made public.
MYTH 4: Public transparency isn’t necessary, as long as patients have access to the prices on their own plans.
MYTH 5: Health care prices are trade secrets, proprietary between providers and insurers.
MYTH 6: If patients see prices, they’ll be scared to get care they really need.
MYTH 7: Transparency will lead to higher prices because not every provider can afford to give their lowest price to all payers, and so they’ll raise prices for some payers (usually the ones with the most volume, that is, the most patients).
MYTH 8: Transparency will lead to higher prices because providers have been offering lower prices out of fear that their competitors were undercutting them. Once they see that their competitors charge more than they do, they’ll raise their prices to match.
MYTH 9: Transparency will lead to higher prices because providers will engage in anti-competitive collusion to fix prices at a higher rate than they’re offering now.
MYTH 10: Health care prices are too complex for patients to understand and respond to rationally.
MYTH 11: Most health care is essential and emergency. Patients can’t shop when they’re in pain or unconscious.
MYTH 12: Most patients just go where their doctor refers them.
MYTH 13: Employers already have price information and they’re the main consumers anyway – patients don’t need it.
MYTH 14: Showing all prices for all payers is a massive regulatory burden on providers.
MYTH 15: Price transparency is impossible when you don’t know which services a patient will need in advance.
MYTH 16: Rural hospitals will have to shut their doors, because they won’t be able to offer competitive prices in a transparent world.
MYTH 17: Price transparency turns insurers and providers into fee-for-service commodity traders – they should be able to compete for business by designing unique products instead.
MYTH 18: Price is not the most important, quality is.
MYTH 19: Hospitals need higher reimbursement rates than independent facilities to run 24-hr emergency rooms, research and training, and to treat uninsured patients.
MYTH 20: Don’t some hospitals have such high quality that higher prices are justified?
MYTH 21: You can’t have transparency in an ACO/MCO world.
MYTH 22: Price transparency doesn’t work in a consolidated market where there’s one dominant health care provider system.