Bipartisan Bill to Change Healthcare Market
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D- Ore.) have co-authored a bill that would make the Medicare claims database available to the public, allowing for unprecedented transparency in medical costs. If this bipartisan bill becomes law, the media, advocacy groups and consumers will be able to see how much the federal government pays for healthcare procedures for those on Medicare. Doing so would give the American public the ability to compare the costs of different treatments, procedures and even the varying prices between hospitals.
Americans spent $2.7 trillion on healthcare last year, nearly $600 billion of which was paid for by Medicare alone. Insight into the largest purchaser of health services in America would provide the public with an unprecedented amount of information about the healthcare market, and could potentially create a check on medical costs. However, opponents of the proposed legislation claim that releasing this data to the public would reveal too much about the practicing patterns of individual doctors, hospitals and providers. There is certainly a trade-off, but providing new information to consumers may be in the public’s best interest.
Featured image courtesy of [Sharyn Morrow via Flickr]