The House Passed a Long-Needed Health Care Price Transparency Measure

"[M]aking prices more transparent polls at more than 80 percentregardless of party or demographic. It brings both liberal and conservative advocacy groups together. Americans see prices everywhere they shop except in health care, and it makes sense to them that there should be a clear price for blood draws and X-rays, too."

Last month, the House passed the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act to drive down health care costs by increasing price transparency. Writing in the The Hill, journalist and commentator Mary Katharine Ham shared her experience as a patient and explains the importance of price transparency.

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“When I was pregnant with my second child, in the years following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, I went to the doctor for routine prenatal testing. Despite promises to the contrary, I had lost several health insurance plans during those years, and at least one while pregnant. At the doctor that day, my new deductible was so high that I paid full freight up-front for all my care. 

“The practice offered me two tests—one a new-fangled version of the old test. When I noticed two tests listed, I told them I’d like to choose one and asked which was more cost-effective. The facility couldn’t even tell me. 

On a different trip to the pediatrician, I asked for an estimate of the price. I was quoted about $250, but when I checked out, was presented with a bill almost three times that.” 


“No matter what kind of insurance you have, you’ve probably run into this confusion. In ObamaCare exchanges, employer-based insurance, and government-run programs, figuring out even an approximate price for medical services can be a puzzle. In most of our system, cost is borne by a third payer, so customers and providers alike are disconnected from the actual price of services. As a result, even the same exact procedure can cost wildly different amounts, depending on something as simple as which building you visit to get it done. 

“A new bill overwhelmingly passed by the House […] (the vote was 320-71) aims to fix some of these problems. Dubbed the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act, the package had bipartisan backing and went through three different House committees. It aims to make changes to our complex health care system to make pricing clearer and site-neutral.” 


The health care debate has for too long been defined by utopian dreams and giant plans, many of which fall short for Americans. Maybe it’s time to start favoring the simple over the sweeping. In the words of Fat Joe, it’s not rocket science.” 

CLICK HERE to read the full piece. 

CLICK HERE to read more about the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act