May 16, 2019

Trump mulling more medical price transparency

The Trump administration is considering requiring insurers to disclose their negotiated rates for services, which could affect insurers in the private market, the WSJ scooped yesterday.

Details: The White House also wants providers to tell patients the total cost of their care before they get the service, regardless of whether the provider is in the patients' insurance network.

  • The push for greater price disclosure would use existing administrative tools, including Labor Department powers.
  • This follows a proposal floated earlier this year that would require hospitals and doctors to disclose the prices they negotiate with insurers, which sparked industry backlash.

If this happened, it would be a huge change from today's secretive pricing system. But it's unclear how well this transparency would work to bring down prices.

  • "There's a natural gut instinct that price transparency will lead to more competition and lower prices, but that’s not at all clear. Where providers have monopoly power, greater transparency won’t do anything," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt said.
  • But there's also a risk of prices actually increasing. "With greater transparency, there's the distinct possibility that low-priced hospitals will demand higher rates once they find out what their competitors are getting paid," Levitt added.

Go deeper: Transparency alone won't solve drug prices

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.

WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.