The late Senator Dr. Tom Coburn was a firm believer in the free market. He knew that private businesses are almost always better at providing goods and services to the American people, and healthcare is no exception.
Unfortunately, high medical bills have convinced many Americans that the federal government should take over the healthcare industry. They believe that socialized medicine would make their medical care cheaper, and they've thrown their support behind "Medicare-for-All" campaigns.
Medicare-for-All wouldn't make medicine cheaper, of course. It would just hide those costs in the maze of federal income taxes.
Dr. Coburn knew that more affordable private healthcare would take the wind out of the Medicare-for-All sails. Price transparency is one of the most important ways to accomplish this goal. If Americans knew costs prior to receiving care, they could shop around for the lowest price. That competition would force hospitals and doctors to lower their prices to remain competitive, which would lower costs for all Americans.
According to federal rules, hospitals are required to post their prices. But most don't. The penalties for not posting prices are minimal, and many have just paid the fines rather than making prices public and transparent.
But there's good news! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is seeking public comments now on increasing the penalty for hospital noncompliance and strengthening the rule -- and they need to hear from concerned Americans!
Our friends at Patient Rights Advocate--a partner of Dr. Coburn--are asking the CMS for the following:
- Increase penalties to a minimum of $300 per bed per day.
- Eliminate estimates and require guaranteed prices (right now hospitals can comply by just posting a “cost estimator tool”).
- Remove all barriers and allow patients to access real prices without having to disclose any personal information.
- Require consistent data standards.
- Build public awareness and require hospitals to inform patients of the upfront price.
If this sounds like something you'd like to support, click here. Patient Rights Advocate has put together talking points and tools to help you comment on this new rule.
We must do everything in our power to push back against Medicare-for-All. As we've seen over the last 18 months, the federal government should stay as far away from our healthcare as possible.
That fight must limit federal power but it must also empower We the People. Price transparency in healthcare costs is a major part of that empowering process, and commenting on this new rule could make a big difference!