Trump Addresses Nation To Sign Executive Order & Acts Like A Hot Mess

Donald Trump actually has some good ideas when it comes to health care. There are two huge problems that he faces, though. First off, while ObamaCare is far from perfect, it is a huge complex system with many interacting parts that should be improved but carefully. Second, common-sense business decisions run right up against a very hard brick wall when they encounter the pharmaceutical and insurance mega-industries. Today, the president gave one of his ideas a shot.
Trump signed an Executive Order for consumer price transparency. That means patients can see what a procedure is going to cost prior to entering the medical center, and they can compare hospitals’ and doctors’ prices, according to NPR:

‘The president knows the best way to lower costs in health care is to put patients in control by increasing choice and competition.’

This policy requires medical centers to show how much the patient and the insurance company would need to pay for procedures. Of course, the details of this program may become clear after the program is rolled out:

‘(It is) an easy-to-read, patient-friendly format. (The rule will) require health care providers and insurers to provide patients with information about the out-of-pocket costs they’ll face before they receive health care services.’

Founder of Patient Rights Advocate Cynthia Fisher said:

‘Today patients don’t have access to prices or choices or even ability to see quality. I think the exciting part of this executive order is the President and administration are really moving to put the patient in the driver’s seat and be empowered for the first time with knowledge and information.’

CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans Matt Eyles released a statement that read:

‘Publicly disclosing competitively negotiated, proprietary rates will reduce competition and push prices higher — not lower — for consumers, patients, and taxpayers. (It will perpetuate) the old days of the American health care system paying for volume over value. We know that is a formula for higher costs and worse care for everyone.’

Senior Vice President for Health Reform the Kaiser Family Foundation Larry Levitt tweeted:

‘I’m skeptical that disclosure of health care prices will drive prices down, and could even increase prices once hospitals and doctors know what their competitors down the street are getting paid.’

It didn’t take long for the pushback to begin. Hospitals, health insurance plans began lobbying against the transparency requirement right away. They claimed the president’s plan would have the unintended consequence of increasing prices. After all, transparency does not guarantee that prices will go down.

Trump anticipated his plan would lower costs, but he has waded into a long-established set of systems that have put down deep roots, and they will not so quickly or easily be uprooted.

A year ago, the president released a Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices. Its purpose was to reduce drug costs for individuals, the industry, and the entire economy. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services offered an international pricing model for Medicare Part B’s cost for specific drugs. Trump has tried to give Medicare the ability to negotiate drugs prices. Clearly, the pharmaceutical companies were not happy. The plan died.