(AUSTIN, Texas – June 25, 2019) – The following is a statement from Ted Shaw, Texas Hospital Association president/CEO, on the Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue a rule requiring hospitals to disclose the amounts health insurers and patients pay for health care services:
“Texas hospitals believe responsibility for good health care decision making rests with all of us --- hospitals, physicians, insurers, employers and consumers themselves. Texas hospitals long have supported empowering health care consumers to make informed decisions and choices about their medical care. With online tools like PricePoint, Texas hospitals have been at the forefront of price transparency. In addition, for patients seeking elective and scheduled procedures, hospitals already work with them to provide specific price and cost-sharing estimates before care is delivered.
Consumers, however, make decisions about hospital care based on numerous factors, in addition to price, including physician referral, friend and family experience, reputation, specialty or center of excellence status and, importantly, health plan network status. Focusing only on price as a decision-making guide is myopic.
At the same time, there are valid economic reasons for why hospital prices vary. Hospitals are not monolithic national retail companies, like WalMart or Amazon. Hospital prices reflect the communities they serve and their unique demographics and needs. A designated trauma hospital in an urban center provides different services from a critical access hospital in a rural community. Pricing structures reflect community needs and characteristics as well as hospitals’ own investments in physician and nurse talent, technology and often, research capabilities.
Finally, it is important to remember that hospital-health plan negotiations are private. Requiring public disclosure of these arrangements could have the very adverse consequence of driving up health care costs for everyone.
Texas hospitals look forward to working with the administration through the rulemaking process to ensure meaningful transparency for patients and to avoid disruption of private contract negotiations as well as possible increases to health care spending.”