The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing Thursday on a bill that would mandate price transparency in health care. Sub-committee member Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) plugged similar efforts already happening Wisconsin. She cited Governor Doyle’s recent signing of the health care transparency bill, which begins in 2011, and hospitals already voluntarily sharing information regarding costs of their procedures. Baldwin said however, “more needs to be done.”
Walter Rugland of ThedaCare, a northeast Wisconsin based health marketplace, said with meaningful information on health care costs and quality, “patients would vote with their feet,” in seeking a better provider.
The Transparency in All Health Care Pricing Act of 2010 is sponsored by Congressman Steve Kagen (D-Appleton). Kagen, a physician, said medicine should look to other industries for examples.
Cong. Kagen (:45)
Anti-trust attorney Michael Cowie said Kagen’s bill would conflict with basic principles designed to prevent collusion. He said disclosures could lead to price-fixing and higher overall prices. But Rugland and Kagen both said the Justice Department would make sure there’s no price-fixing.
During the hearing, panel members indicated bi-partisan interest in supporting the measure.