Target: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Goal: Ensure hospitals disclose their pricing in order to avoid taking advantage of patients.
There are currently no laws requiring hospitals to disclose pricing for medical expenses. According to a recent article in the New York Times, hospitals may even withhold pricing from patients until services have been administered and patients billed. This lack of regulation allows hospitals to set their own prices for care, creating vast disparities in pricing. Thus, hospitals maximize their profits at the expense of insured and uninsured patients alike; indeed, they are under no legal obligation to do differently. The U.S. government must halt this profit-seeking practice in order to protect the health of its people.
Most egregiously, this lack of transparency in hospital pricing hurts uninsured patients most of all. Hospitals’ nondisclosure of prices leaves uninsured patients no way to prepare for medical expenses, and fundamentally impedes their search for affordable medical care.
While some states like New Jersey, California, New York, and Colorado have laws that cap hospital expenses for the uninsured at Medicare prices, few states have as generous of laws governing medical expenses for the uninsured. Recommendations for laws requiring transparency in hospital pricing such as that of the New Jersey state government’s Commission on Rationalizing Health Care Resources have yet to be put into action. It is time to demand that the government address this persistent and pressing health disparity.
By signing the petition below, you will voice the need to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for legislation that mandates hospitals to list prices for their patients, keeping hospitals accountable and prices transparent.
Dear U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius,
The lack of legislation requiring hospitals to disclose prices creates enormous inconsistencies in pricing and results in a glaring health disparity for the uninsured. Without legal pressure to do otherwise, hospitals may set their own prices in order to maximize profits, ultimately sacrificing their provision of affordable care to patients both with and without medical insurance.
Past recommendations by state government advisory commissions to end this practice have been neglected. The federal government must create legislation to end hospitals’ withholding and manipulation of pricing.
I write urging you to initiate the creation of policy to keep hospitals accountable for fair, consistent pricing and to allow patients to know the true cost of their medical care.
[Your Name Here]