As of January, an executive order from former President Donald Trump went into effect that forces hospitals and medical companies to publish the prices of the treatments they offer to their patients. An analysis by the Wall Street Journal revealed that for the same treatment at the same hospital, one can pay from $6,000 to $60,000 depending on the type of plan and the medical company insuring it.
According to the Daily Caller, “A Sutter hospital in Berkeley, Calif., Anthem Inc. has a Medicaid plan that pays $6,337 for vaginal birth. Meanwhile, the rate listed for Anthem’s commercial plans is $14,928,” meaning that a person with private insurance pays more than twice as much as a person with a state-subsidized plan.
Something similar happens with medications, but with an inverted relationship. Big Pharma inflates drug prices in the private sector in order to charge more on government-subsidized plans (Medicaid) that are generally higher in consumption than private ones.
In 2019, Trump signed an executive order seeking to have the prices that medical companies and hospitals pay for certain medical treatments in confidential settlements made public.
The goal of the order is to collect this information and create some applications so that people can see what prices and what quality different medical companies offer for the same treatment, in order to decide which option to opt for.
“We will empower patients with the information they need to search for the lowest cost and highest quality care,” Trump said at the White House, adding the executive order’s goal is to “put American patients first.”
Trump predicted the move would lead to treatment prices dropping significantly, and former Health Secretary Alex Azar said it “will go down as one of the most significant steps in the long history of American health care reform.”
Hospitals and health insurers resist
Although hospitals and health insurers appealed the order, the court rejected their argument, and the order went into effect in January of this year.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, in his ruling against it, argued that “plaintiffs are essentially attacking transparency measures generally, which are intended to enable consumers to make informed decisions.”
However, with the change in government, again unionists are calling on Biden to rescind the order, making excuses for the pandemic, as if hospitals were really overwhelmed by the Chinese virus.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) wrote to Joe Biden’s transition team, asking him to exercise discretion in implementing the rule.
“Whichever way that issue is resolved in consultation with your administration, now is not the time to heap these requirements on hospitals that need to keep their focus and resources devoted to caring for patients and administering vaccines,” Richard Pollack, the AHA’s chief executive officer, wrote.
With Biden being an Establishment person that includes Big Pharma, it would not be surprising if he rescinded the order.
Regardless, the Wall Street Journal report is enough evidence for Americans to take note of this immoral practice by the medical industry and demand transparency by calling their representatives and senators to uphold Trump-era reform.