Make the Cost of Healthcare Transparent

Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Make healthcare cost information available to the public

Non-profit groups would like to see reform in healthcare transparency. In a joint effort, the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute and Catalyst for Payment Reform just released the “Report Card on State Transparency Laws.” Grades were decided based on factors like providing a public website for healthcare costs, setting affordable prices for patients, and covering an array of conditions under insurance plans. Twenty-nine states received an “F” grade. Only two received an “A.”

There is little communication between states about how much procedures cost and how to spread that information. For the most part, medical care is privatized—by both medical professionals and insurance companies. While they keep billing records, public leaders don’t. To access, organize, and release this wealth of information is an enormous task. Experts blame the lack of transparency to poor political motivation. The healthcare industry is a booming, multi-billion dollar business in America, and it has intimidating lobbying power in Washington.

Many Americans worry that the Affordable Care Act, which will take effect in January 2014, will be confusing without comparative data about healthcare costs. Moreover, choosing cheaper healthcare may not provide the best doctor or treatment for a condition. As in any market, it seems illogical and unfair for the producer to know the price of something while the consumer is left in the dark. Ask President Obama to require states to release healthcare cost information publicly.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Obama,

The Affordable Care Act will take effect in January of 2014. Many Americans are worried that the Act will be confusing and difficult to navigate, since the cost of healthcare procedures and treatments is not widely available.

A recent scorecard released by Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute and Catalyst for Payment Reform rated states based on the transparency of healthcare costs. While 29 states received an “F” grade, only two received an “A.” Those winning states—Massachusetts and New Hampshire—acquire data and report healthcare costs on public websites that are easily accessible to citizens.

Legislation must be put into place requiring private insurance companies and medical providers to release healthcare cost information to state leaders. The dialogue between states about healthcare cost must also increase. The bureaucratic process surrounding healthcare and its cost is confusing to most Americans, and cost transparency will truly aid those Americans who currently lack healthcare coverage. Don’t make the Affordable Care Act more confusing than it needs to be. Require state leaders to release healthcare cost data to their citizens.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: C. Todd Lopez via Wikimedia

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