Why Price Transparency?
By David Silverstein
Since I founded BrokenHealthcare.org, I have had the privilege of speaking with hundreds of patients, healthcare experts, legislators, academics and journalists about America’s broken healthcare system. Almost everyone I speak with gets around to asking the same question in one form or another: With all that’s wrong with our healthcare system, why are you so focused on price transparency?
I have a powerful answer to that question: Price transparency is a non-partisan concept that almost everyone can support, and without price transparency we cannot solve any of the other problems plaguing our system.
Are healthcare prices spiraling out of control? It seems so. But we won’t know how or why without price transparency.
Are many healthcare providers ordering expensive unnecessary tests for patients? We won’t truly know when without price transparency.
Are patients with the same insurance plan being charged different amounts by the same hospital? We’ve all heard those stories, but only true price transparency will help us determine when and why that happens.
Is newer medical technology driving up the price of the older technology? Price transparency will tell us that.
Is there any correlation between price and quality of healthcare? Not likely. But we need price transparency to know for sure.
Our nation spends 50% more than any other country on healthcare but ranks 70th in quality of care. Do we have any chance of reducing spending and increasing quality? We have no chance unless we truly understand how pricing works now.
Here is one more sobering statistic. In one year (2015), hospitals, health service providers, and health professionals spent $257.9 million on lobbying activities – more than any other industry. Each year a portion of that money goes towards fighting price transparency. We need to fight back. Our personal and economic health depends on it.