Consumers need more transparency to help them make better healthcare decisions. Too often, it is not clear if a provider is in network. It is not clear, if a specialty drug is covered by a health plan. It is not clear, what the actual cost is of a medical procedure.
Change is long overdue. Yesterday, an important step took place with the launch of the Clear Choices Campaign, an advocacy effort of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, which HealthCare.com helps lead. The campaign is comprised of 15 employer, insurer, consumer, life science and provider organizations — companies like AARP, Aetna and the National Association of Manufacturers, to promote transparency in healthcare by changing the laws and regulations that inhibit the use of information in healthcare.
I am on the executive board of CAHC, and a HealthCare.com is a member of Clear Choices.
Our Coalition supports:
- Better tools for consumers and employers to make informed decisions;
- More data in the hands of more experts to power consumer tools; and
- More competitive markets where consumers can use comparative tools.
Done well, changes to our transparency laws can offer a huge pay-off. According to Don Berwick, the former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, lack of transparency and competitive pricing was responsible for between $84 billion and $174 billion in wasteful spending last year.
This initiative will not cure all that ails healthcare. But it is a start. A way to shine bright light into secret places and let consumers see more information so they can make better decisions.
Politically, both Democrats and Republicans see value in transparency. Republicans want markets to work. Democrats want to level the real and perceived imbalances in the playing field. Both parties seem to want an empowered consumer. Congress should act quickly to implement reforms designed to make healthcare markets more competitive and consumer friendly before soaring health costs do irreparable harm to our living standards, fiscal balances and social cohesion. Rest assured, we will be working to do our part.
Visit Clear Choices Campaign and let me know what you think. Spread the word. Add your organization to the growing organizations who support Clear Choices. HealthCare.com believes consumers deserve healthcare transparency— join us in this vital campaign. Tell us your story.