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Consumers are admonished to be “smart shoppers,” but that’s difficult if health care prices are clear as mud. When Sarah Macsalka’s son needed stitches, she did her best to avoid the ER and still ended up with a $3,000 bill.
Health care is still a top issue in the Democratic primary debate for president, but the candidates’ complicated plans may be doing more to confuse than to educate voters. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Caitlin Owens of Axios and Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more health news. Also, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week.
The final directive drew swift responses from the hospital and insurance industries. The Trump administration also released a proposed rule that would require health insurers to spell out for all services beforehand just how much patients may owe for their out-of-pocket costs.
Health care was a major topic at the Democratic presidential candidate debates in Detroit on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the focus on plan minutiae may have left viewers more confused than edified. Alice Ollstein of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Caitlin Owens of Axios join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss the points made by the candidates plus a series of Trump administration health initiatives on drug prices and hospital shopping.
Democratic presidential candidates disagreed on how to fix health care in their first debate Wednesday, although they all called for boosting insurance coverage and lowering prices. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is keeping health care in the news, too, with a new plan to make medical prices more available to the public. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this, plus the latest in news about bipartisan progress on catch-all legislation to address “surprise” medical bills. Plus, Rovner interviews NPR’s Jon Hamilton about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.
Lawmakers and patients want to eliminate “surprise” out-of-network medical bills. Hospitals, doctors and insurers say they want to eliminate them, too, but their opposition to one another’s proposals could complicate legislative efforts. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this, plus the latest in news about reproductive health and health care sharing ministries.
Though a range of policy solutions have been discussed by Congress, the White House and other experts, a theme of a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday was that providers and insurers are key to correcting the issue.
Most hospitals appear to be complying with the federal rule to post their prices online. Yet there is little follow-up by the government or industry and debate continues about whether the price lists are creating more confusion than clarity among consumers.
Health was a featured player in President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address. The president set goals to bring down prescription drug prices, end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. and cure childhood cancer, among other things. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Alice Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and, for “extra credit,” provide their favorite health policy stories of the week. Rovner also interviews KHN senior correspondent Phil Galewitz about the current “Bill of the Month” feature.
The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to reveal their prices. If patients and politicians pay attention, this could be a game changer for health care.