Trump Issues Executive Order on Health Care Cost Transparency

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on health care price transparency, seeking to require health insurance companies, providers, and hospitals to give patients more information on the cost of health services before utilizing them.

The executive order directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among other agencies, to propose regulations and conduct a rulemaking process around the disclosure of health care pricing in an “easy-to understand, consumer-friendly” format. Among other requirements of the order is a directive to specified federal agencies to develop a “Health Quality Roadmap” that aims to align and improve data and quality measure reporting across health systems and a directive to the federal government to issue guidance on the expansion of high-deductible health plans.

The Trump Administration contends provisions included in this week’s executive order will empower patients to shop around for health services and, in turn, result in market forces that decrease health care costs. However, several health policy experts, hospital and provider groups, and economists have expressed skepticism that disclosing negotiated and proprietary health care rates will drive prices lower for U.S. consumers. While greater price transparency makes sense from a consumer protection standpoint, some experts argue price transparency has not resulted in material savings or shopping advantages for consumers.

Pursuant to the executive order, federal agencies will soon begin undertaking regulatory and rulemaking actions as directed by President Trump. The executive order is available here.