WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold consecutive hearings to examine how to drive down the cost of health care for consumers, healthcare price transparency compliance and enforcement, and the fiscal year 2024 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget. Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) applauds Congress for its commitment to lowering healthcare costs, keeping the Biden administration accountable to enforcing the law, and creating a trusted, competitive marketplace in health care where patients are in control.
Over the last two years, the Biden administration has failed to enforce price transparency rules that require hospitals, other health providers, and insurers to post real prices for various items and services—like prescription drugs, MRIs, hip replacements, and delivering a baby—so consumers have full pricing information and can shop in a transparent marketplace. Last week, the Foundation for Government Accountability filed a federal lawsuit against Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury for their inaction to enforce these rules.
Healthcare price transparency is an issue with bipartisan support. A SocialSphere poll found 92% of Americans support it. Yet, without REAL price transparency in health care patients cannot get the quality, affordable health care they deserve.
“I can’t think of another whole industry where consumers would put up with not knowing what they have to pay for a product or service before they buy it,” said Havilah Wingfield, visiting fellow at Independent Women’s Voice. “Some people can grocery shop and go to restaurants without looking at the prices, but most of us absolutely need to price compare to find the stores and restaurants we can afford to use. But in health care, we’ve been told it’s too complicated for us to know what we have to pay, and that we have to resign ourselves to whatever bills we receive—no matter how much debt they plunge us into. Those lies need to be ended now—and Congress can do it, if they choose to.”
“Independent Women’s Forum is collecting stories of Americans from across the country who feel abused and misled by our healthcare system’s inability to provide timely and accurate billing information,” said Kelsey Bolar, senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum, IWV’s c3 sister organization. Having healthcare prices available upfront, before patients receive care would be a game-changer for these Americans and millions more. Given its bipartisan appeal, it should be a no-brainer for Congress to codify and strengthen the rules and pursue real healthcare price transparency so patients aren’t left in the dark.”