The American Hospital Association has announced its support for a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require greater price transparency for consumers using hospitals.
The bill, H.R.5547, received bipartisan sponsorship, including Rep. Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican and physician. It is currently scheduled for committee hearings.
“Consumers deserve meaningful information about the price of their hospital care, and hospital leaders are as committed to sharing price information as they are to sharing information about quality,” said a letter AHA Executive Vice President Thomas P. Nickels sent to Burgess. “The AHA believes that states, working with their state hospital associations, are the best source for sharing meaningful pricing data.”
The specific contents of the bill, which would include amendments to the Social Security Act, were not yet available.
Price transparency in healthcare has been a sore spot for consumers for a long period of time. A study conducted last year by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute and Catalyst for Payment Reform concluded that only five states provide relevant pricing data to patients. A recent online petition demanding greater price transparency received a strong response.
Other price transparency initiatives supported by hospital lobbies at the state level tend to have their limitations. A price transparency initiative recently launched in Oregon would only furnish estimates to uninsured patients. In Massachusetts, one of the few states where healthcare price transparency is mandated under law, consumers often struggle to receive more than rudimentary data from providers about the cost of their healthcare.