States want price transparency tied to Medicaid expansion

Ohio is likely to expand its Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act, with support from its Republican governor, prompting policymakers to call for greater price transparency from hospitals as a result, reported The Columbus Dispatch.

Much pricing for healthcare services is "a shell game that inflates prices for people who can pay, to cover the cost of care for people who cannot," Greg Moody, director of the Ohio Office of Health Transformation, told the Dispatch.

Moody noted Medicaid expansion would grant the power to insist hospitals and other healthcare providers reveal more information about the actual cost of procedures and the quality of care, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

The issue of price transparency also is gearing up in Maine, where Republican Gov. Paul LePage has expressed resistance to expanding the Medicaid program. However, price transparency is expected to be part of a push by the state's Democrats to support expansion, reported the Portland Press Herald.

Expanding Medicaid could be tied to "comprehensive system-wide reform that includes reducing our debt to hospitals, cost controls in our hospitals, and transparency in medical billing," according to Maine Speaker of the House Mark Eves.

Ohio already has some pricing laws on the books, but they essentially require hospitals to publish their chargemaster prices. Most patients are charged only a fraction of those costs.

To learn more:
- read the Columbus Dispatch article
- here's the Portland Press Herald article