Health care prices

Trump administration releases health care transparency rules

President Trump with HHS Sec. Alex Azar
President Trump with HHS Sec. Alex Azar. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration has released two new rules requiring hospitals and insurers to make their negotiated prices public, giving patients the ability to shop around for care based on price.

The big picture: The rules — one final and one proposed — could have a huge impact on the health care system, and will surely be fought by the industry — including in court.

Health care prices drive up inflation

A beige hospital room with a bed, computer monitor and other health care devices.
Photo: Aric Crabb/Digital First Media/Bay Area News via Getty Images

Consumer inflation rose 0.4% in October, which was higher than expected due in large part to rising health care prices, according to new federal figures. The monthly spikes in inflation were especially prominent for health insurance costs (2.2%), prescription drugs (1.8%) and hospital services (1.4%).

The bottom line: "Inflation remains well-contained almost everywhere, with the major exception of the health care sector," left-leaning economist Dean Baker wrote in an analysis.