Rep. David H. Rowe (R-Snyder/Union/Juniata/Mifflin) hosted a hearing with the House Republican Policy Committee today to discuss issues pertaining to hospital pricing transparency.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump mandated hospitals post standard charges at their lowest rate and the Biden administration has since signaled support for these policies by increasing penalties for hospitals that do not comply. Despite efforts from both Republican and Democrat administrations, there is still rampant noncompliance with this federal mandate. Hearing testifiers explained that hospital pricing transparency is necessary because there is currently little incentive for providers to lower costs and consumers are left without recourse if they are over-billed for services. Pricing transparency would also boast many benefits to self-funded employers and consumers at large by empowering Pennsylvanians to shop around for health care.
“Health care comprises 20% of the United States’ economy, and there’s currently no functional market for consumers to compare prices and make educated decisions about where they receive medical treatment,” said Rowe. “You can drive across town to make sure you’re getting the best deal on a car, but there’s currently no way to shop around for where you receive medical procedures where the cost savings could be 500% to 700%. That’s unacceptable.”
“There is a severe crisis in consumer confidence in health care right now,” said Joshua D. Kail (R-Beaver/Washington), chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. “I don’t think anyone thinks the status quo is acceptable. It looks as though it’s either going the route of government control, which is where the left wants to take it, or we can implement market reforms. That’s what we should be pushing to prevent an even worse system from coming into place. We want to see more of a market-driven solution for the health care system.”
“Hospital pricing transparency won’t solve everything, but nothing can be solved without it,” said testifier Patrick Neville, former Republican Leader of the Colorado state House of Representatives.
Jim Jusco, president and founder of FireLight Health, testified that even with skyrocketing administrative costs including multi-million-dollar CEO salaries, “only 20 to 30 cents of every healthcare dollar actually goes to doctors and nurses.”
Other hearing testifiers included Dean Clancy, senior health policy fellow with Americans for Prosperity and Chris Deacon, owner of VerSan Consulting.
“If groceries inflated at the same rate as health care, we’d be paying roughly $160 for a gallon of milk at the supermarket. That really puts in perspective how detrimental the lack of competition in the health care market is to the consumer,” Rowe added. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to address this issue for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians. It’s time to get to work on this critically important issue to help preserve affordable, world-class American health care for future generations.”
Questions about this hearing and other state-related issues can be directed to Rowe’s office at 570-837-0052.
Representative David Rowe
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Katelin Morrison