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In a move to empower patients and lower health care costs, today Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined his colleagues Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) in introducing the PRICE Transparency Act.

This legislation would codify the two health care price transparency rules that came out of President Donald Trump’s Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare Executive Order – which requires hospitals and insurers to reveal their low, discounted cash prices and negotiated rates to consumers before they receive medical care.

Last November, the Trump administration issued two separate regulations requiring price transparency for hospitals and health insurance companies. Some hospital groups brought suit in an attempt to keep consumers in the dark when it comes to information about how much their health care will cost. The hospital regulation, scheduled to take effect in January 2021, was challenged in court by the hospital lobbies that sued to keep their prices and negotiated rates secret. The hospital lobbies lost this legal battle – with a federal judge upholding the legality of the hospital transparency rule intended to expose private, negotiated rates with insurers – and noting in the opinion that the rule would “allow patients to make pricing comparisons between hospitals.” 

There will be continued legal challenges brought by hospital and insurance lobbies to keep their prices and negotiated rates secret until after patients get care. Continued legal challenges will likely be brought by hospital and insurance lobbies to keep their prices and negotiated rates secret until after patients get care. The Health Care PRICE Transparency Act would effectively codify these rules and overcome the court challenges.

“An extra dose of transparency will bring more accountability and competition to the health care industry. It’s time for Americans to have more financial information available to them when going to the hospital and working with their insurance companies. I applaud President Trump’s continued commitment to bring more sunlight to the health care industry,” Grassley said.

“As a Main Street Entrepreneur who provided quality healthcare to my employees, this legislation will give Americans the chance to see the true costs of their healthcare visits, which will increase competition and lower healthcare costs,” Braun said. “President Trump has been the leader on healthcare reform and this legislation takes his executive orders and makes it the law of the land, which is a win for all Americans.”    

 “Americans often leave their health care visits frustrated not knowing what price to expect on the bill,” Enzi said. “But for many procedures, if you can know the cost beforehand, you can choose the hospital that fits your needs. The Administration issued these no nonsense health care price transparency rules. I am glad that our legislation would help cement them so patients can stay informed about the real cost of their treatment before they receive the care they need.”

“Every year on my 99 County Tour across Iowa, I hear from folks who are concerned about the high costs of health care. Iowans should be able to access information about the costs associated with their health care in advance, so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” Ernst said. “By improving transparency we can increase competition, empower patients, and ultimately lower health care costs. I’m glad to join my colleagues in support of this bill which is a critical step toward achieving these important goals.”

“Louisianans should be able to find out what the real price of their health care is. This bill creates transparency so that patients finally have access to pricing information that has been out of reach for far too long,” Kennedy said.

“Now more than ever, we need transparency in our health care system,” Loeffler said. “This legislation builds off President Trump’s executive order to encourage competition among providers and decrease health care costs for Americans. I’m committed to working with my colleagues and President Trump to find additional commonsense solutions that improve our health care system and make quality care more affordable.”