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New Trump executive order seeks more transparency in health care costs

The White House said this could help people make informed choices

Kevin Dietsch/Pool via Bloomberg

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at increasing transparency in the health care industry.

Here's what we know

According to the White House, this new executive order "directs his Administration to take steps to improve price and quality transparency in healthcare."

"For too long, powerful interests have blocked patients from knowing the true price and quality of healthcare, denying them the information they need to make informed choices," the White House said in a press release.

White House Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar called this "one of the most significant steps in the long history of American health care reform."

This new executive order requires "hospitals to publicly disclose amounts that reflect what people actually pay for services in an easy-to-read format." It also calls for more clairty in how much out-of-pocket spending patients are required to supply, and a better system to supply patients "more information about healthcare prices and quality."

It remains to be seen how effectively this executive order can be implemented.

According to Politico, the Trump administration has indicated that it also wants to force both health insurance companies and hospitals to disclose the rates they agree on for drug prices. Until now these rates have been private, meaning that both industries can choose between themselves what to charge patients without having to reveal the actual breakdown of the cost of the drugs.

What else?

This isn't the first time the Trump administration has targeted pharmaceutical prices. In early May, HHS announced regulations that would require pharmaceutical companies to disclose the list prices of drugs in T.V. advertising.

In February, the Senate Finance Committee, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, also pressured drug companies to increase transparency and stop overcharging customers.

One last thing…
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