Reps. Burgess, Gene Green Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Promote Transparency In Health Care Costs
Requires states to establish health care transparency requirements for hospitals and health plansPosted by Lauren Bean on May 06, 2009
U.S. Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26) and U.S. Congressman Gene Green (TX-29) together introduced HR 2249, the Health Care Price Transparency Promotion Act of 2009. The bipartisan bill aims to make health care more affordable by promoting greater transparency about the costs of health care services for patients seeking care.
“This is about giving patients more choices and more control over their health care decisions by providing up-front information on cost,” Burgess said. “Restaurants have menus displaying the prices of the products they offer, why should hospitals providing health care services be any different? A patient should be able to know what they are paying for and how much they will pay out-of-pocket. This is an important step in improving our country’s health care system by focusing on patients.”
Health care costs are increasing at an alarming rate. In 2008, total national health expenditures rose more than 6.9 percent – two times the rate of inflation. Total spending was $2.4 trillion in 2007, or $7900 per person. Total health care spending represented 17 percent of the gross domestic product. Furthermore, U.S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade, reaching $4.3 trillion in 2017, or 20 percent of GDP.
“Our current health care system needs to be reformed. Unfortunately, with all of the bureaucracy and paperwork, few people including patients and physicians know where money is going. This makes it hard to identify the base problem and begin to help curb increasing health care costs,” said Rep. Green. “This legislation will be a first step in a long-term solution to clear up the confusion, and will let us move towards affordable, quality health care for all Americans.”
The American Hospital Association notes that there is evidence of the ongoing success of states and state hospital associations to collect and disseminate hospital pricing information. The Health Care Price Transparency Promotion Act directs states to establish and maintain laws requiring disclosure of information on hospital charges. Additionally, the bill requires hospitals and health plans to make such information available to the public, and to provide individuals with information about estimated out-of-pocket costs for health care services.
Signing on as original cosponsors of HR 2249 are Reps. John Carter (TX-31), Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Mac Thornberry (TX-13).