There's a lot of skepticism about whether making prices more transparent will do anything to lower them, but there are ways to maximize the odds, Gilbert Benavidez and Austin Frakt write in JAMA Forum.

Driving the news: Both the Trump administration and Congress are pushing pricing transparency measures, banking on the idea that if consumers know how much health care services cost, they'll opt for the cheaper ones.

  • But this hasn't worked in the past. People who have access to price information rarely use it to shop around.
  • One study found that only 2% of people with access to price transparency tools actually used them.
  • This is even true for people with high deductibles.

The other side: Other incentives, when paired with transparency, actually do get people to shop for cheaper care.

  • The most effective seems to be reference pricing, in which payers set a maximum amount they'll reimburse for a shoppable service. Patients who use services that cost more than this maximum amount have to pay the difference out of pocket.
  • A slightly less effective tool is rewards programs, in which patients receive rebates when they use services below a set amount.
  • Between these 2 approaches, the stick works better than the carrot.

The bottom line: Getting the incentives right is important, but so far transparency is being pushed as a standalone approach.

Go deeper: Washington's favorite health policy isn't a silver bullet

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Senate to vote on Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation on Oct. 26

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Capitol on Oct. 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Senate will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next Monday, Oct. 26, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday.

The big picture: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this Thursday to advance Barrett's nomination to the full Senate floor. Democrats have acknowledged that there's nothing procedurally they can do to stop Barrett's confirmation, which will take place just one week out from Election Day.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Meadows confirms Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents were false

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the disclosure of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails "were not self-executing declassification orders," after a federal judge demanded that Trump be asked about his intentions.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the first time Trump himself has indicated, according to Meadows, that his tweets are not official directives.