Jun 25, 2019

Industry doesn't like Trump's transparency push

President Trump signs yesterday's executive order. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Industry groups came out with guns blazing yesterday against President Trump's executive order on price transparency for hospitals. And plenty of experts are skeptical that it will bring prices down.

What's next: Industry will have ample opportunity to kill or weaken the new rules while the administration fills in the details through the regulatory process.

Between the lines: Health care economists and hospitals are on the same side — although perhaps for different reasons.

  • "I would expect the health care industry to oppose any government mandate to disclose what it considers to be confidential business information," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt said.
  • "While transparency might not lead directly to lower prices, it could spur political action to deal with them, and that’s something the industry certainly wants to avoid," Levitt added.

What they're saying: If the price-disclosure requirements "take the wrong course...it may undercut the way insurers pay for hospital services resulting in higher spending," Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, said in a statement.

  • "Competition experts...agree that disclosing privately negotiated rates will reduce incentives to offer lower rates, creating a floor – not a ceiling – for the prices that hospitals would be willing to accept," said Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Both groups cited the Federal Trade Commission, which wrote in a 2015 blog post that it's "especially concerned when information disclosures allow competitors to figure out what their rivals are charging, which dampens each competitor’s incentive to offer a low price, or increases the likelihood that they can coordinate on higher prices."

Go deeper

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

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.