On Monday, June 24, 2019, President Donald Trump signed an executive order designed to increase pricing and quality transparency in healthcare. The president’s executive order is the latest move that the Trump administration has taken to address rising healthcare costs.
In May 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a rule that would require drug companies to disclose the price of prescription drugs on TV ads. In addition, President Trump delivered a speech in which he laid out a blueprint for combating surprise medical billing.
Executive Order Details
With the order, the government hopes to eliminate unnecessary barriers to healthcare pricing and quality transparency. Outlined below are the steps the order lays out that are intended to achieve pricing and quality transparency in healthcare.
The June 24 order states that within 60 days, HHS Secretary Alex Azar will propose a regulation to require hospitals to post their pricing information publicly. This published information is to be delivered in a consumer-friendly and easy-to-understand format. It should include charges and information based on insurance-negotiated prices and shoppable services or items. The HHS’ proposed legislation should also require the regular updating of this information.
Within 90 days of the order, the secretaries of HHS, the Treasury and Labor will issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that would require providers, insurers and self-insured health plans to provide patients with information about expected out-ofpocket costs for medical items or services before they receive care. This advance notice of proposed rulemaking will solicit comments as well.
Within 180 days of the order, the secretary of Treasury shall propose regulations to treat medical expenses that relate to certain types of health arrangements as eligible medical expenses under section 213(d) of title 26, United States Code. The order states that this could potentially include expenses related to direct primary care or healthcare sharing ministries.
Within 180 days of the order, a report that describes how the government or private sector is hindering transparency in healthcare quality and pricing for consumers will be delivered. The HHS secretary will work in consultation with the attorney general and Federal Trade Commission to draft the report.
Medical Spending Accounts
Within 120 days of the order, the secretary of Treasury will issue guidance to expand consumers’ ability to choose high deductible health plans with health savings accounts.
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