Barring gag clauses that prohibit pharmacists from revealing that a prescription drug may cost less than the insurance co-payment if bought with cash; requiring hospitals and doctors to post prices for procedures under Medicare; facilitating tools that show patients their out-of-pocket costs for drugs and compare prices for other medical care; and attempting to force price visibility in advertisements for drugs have all been part of this effort. These moves — intended to remove the cloak of mystery around health care prices — are long overdue.
Health care is the only good or service in the United States that Americans buy and use without first knowing its cost — and that needs to change.
The goal of health care reform should be to ensure that everyone has access to excellent medical care. Instead of compelling Americans to accept an inferior government-run system that restricts access to important drugs, diagnostic technology and medical care to regulate costs, the Trump administration is exposing health care to the power of the free market. This means creating conditions proven to bring down prices while simultaneously improving quality in virtually every other good or service in America: incentivizing empowered patients to seek value with their money, stimulating competition among doctors and hospitals and increasing the supply of medical care.