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Analysis

Trump's Price Transparency Executive Order Expected Monday

By Steven Porter  
   June 21, 2019

The president plans to direct federal agencies to begin the regulatory work of requiring healthcare providers and insurers to disclose information about their negotiated rates.

President Donald Trump's big move on healthcare price transparency is expected to come next week.

Trump plans to issue an executive order Monday to direct federal agencies to begin the regulatory process of forcing providers, insurers, and others to disclose more information about their negotiated rates and discounts, as The Wall Street Journal's Stephanie Armour reported Thursday evening, citing unnamed sources.

Armour reported last month that the Trump administration is likely to use the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rule this summer to require hospitals to disclose their negotiated rates. That could be a very big deal for the industry. But it's not clear how far the executive order will go, in light of firm pushback from powerful industry groups.

Related: Trump's War on Middlemen Might Reach Well Beyond PBM Rebates

Despite the industry's pushback, Trump may have a strong political incentive to proceed with gusto. An overwhelming majority of voters, 88%, say they would favor a government initiative to require insurers, hospitals, doctors, and other providers to disclose costs, discounts, and negotiated rates, according to polling conducted last month by the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll.

Trump ceremonially launched his 2020 reelection campaign this week, as he and fellow Republicans look for ways to resonate with voters on their healthcare priorities—even as the administration has sent mixed messages on whether it will pursue a legislative replacement for the Affordable Care Act before next year's general election.

In an interview with ABC News that aired last Sunday, Trump said "we already have the concept of the plan" to replace the ACA. Republicans will implement that plan if they win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives and retain both the U.S. Senate and the presidency in 2020, he said, noting that the plan itself will be announced within two months. "We'll be having a plan much before the election," he said. "Soon. Fairly soon."

Trump said the Republican plan will address the big reasons why people hate the Obama-era law.

"It's too expensive, it's not good," he said, "but if we win the House, we win the Senate, we win the presidency. You're going have the greatest healthcare that anybody's ever had."

Trump's planned executive order and his rhetoric on a legislative ACA replacement come as a bipartisan group of senators push a healthcare bill of their own, with a variety of price transparency components.

Related: Sen. Alexander Details His Plan to Fix Surprise Medical Bills

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The details of the order are unclear and may be tempered by stiff pushback from industry groups.

There may be a political incentive for the president to press a policy popular among voters.


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