State legislature takes up a powerful, comprehensive healthcare price transparency bill
DENVER, CO – April 4, 2018. A bill introduced late Wednesday in the Colorado General Assembly would give residents of Colorado the most comprehensive healthcare price transparency in the nation. HB18-1358, introduced by Representative Mike Foote (D – District 12, Boulder), was driven and drafted by BrokenHealthcare.org founder, David Silverstein, in order to create a more functional, trustworthy healthcare market for Colorado residents. The law would require that healthcare providers (doctors, hospitals, clinics and other facilities) publish their prices for all services and would require that health insurance carriers publish (to their members) the prices they have negotiated with all healthcare providers and pharmacies, along with their reimbursement policies. The bill is co-sponsored by Representative Susan Beckman (R – District 38, Arapahoe), Senator Irene Aguilar, MD (D – District 32, Denver) and Senator Kevin Lundberg (R – District 15, Larimer) and has been assigned to Health, Insurance & Environment Committee.
“If you have ever received a medical bill you know that healthcare billing has grown increasingly complex and prices are rising at a rate well ahead of inflation” said Silverstein. “This measure calls for comprehensive healthcare price transparency from all parties. Our healthcare system needs a lot of fixing, but nothing can change until there is full transparency. Americans deserve a healthcare system they can trust. We’d like to see Colorado lead the way to that end.”
In addition to price information from healthcare providers and insurance carriers, the law would require full price information from all pharmacies and would oblige providers, carriers and pharmacies to update their prices as they change. The bill also includes a provision whereby, if a provider has failed to publish its prices at the time a healthcare service is provided to a patient, that patient will not be held responsible for paying the charges associated with that service. Silverstein noted that this legislation is critically different from all previous attempts to legislate healthcare price transparency. “This will work where other laws have failed because we are requiring full price transparency from all commercial stakeholders in the healthcare system. Only when providers, payers and pharmacies are all publishing pricing information, can the healthcare market begin to behave like a fully functional, price-sensitive marketplace. It is also the first step to gaining back consumers’ trust.”
Silverstein and BrokenHealthcare.org are not leaving the fate of Colorado’s healthcare market in the hands of the legislature. Silverstein and fellow sponsor Andrew Graham are backing up the bill with a parallel Ballot Initiative (2017-18 #146 – Comprehensive Healthcare Billing Transparency Act) to put before Colorado voters in November. BrokenHealthcare.org kicked off its signature gathering campaign for the ballot initiative this week. “I challenge the legislators to pass this bill before it is passed by Colorado voters,” said Silverstein. “I’d like Colorado lawmakers to show the nation how this should be done. It’s a non-partisan bill that will benefit every citizen.”
Silverstein expressed his deep appreciation for bill sponsor, Rep. Mike Foote. “Crafting this bill took many months and hundreds of hours of input from doctors, hospital executives, insurance executives, lawmakers and billing experts. Mike supported this from day one and was ready to take the ball and run with it when we finally got it right. I’d like to see the legislature fast-track this critical bill and take it the rest of the way during the next five weeks.”
The legislation can be found at https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb18-1358.