Right Now

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –Due to a lack of transparency, some health providers may be charging double, triple, or more what another provider down the road charges for the same procedure—resulting in higher out of pocket costs for patients— according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requested by Sens. Coburn, Klobuchar, Shaheen, and Toomey.  The GAO also found significant weaknesses in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)’ price and quality transparency tools for consumers.  As a result, it can be nearly impossible for patients to obtain information on the cost and quality of health care prior to a procedure, causing some patients to spend more on health care without receiving better care.

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.) released the following statement:

“Transparency in the cost and quality of health care is crucial in creating a competitive market to improve health outcomes while driving down costs for patients. The innovative Surgery Center of Oklahoma, for example, posts the prices of procedures on their website so that consumers can make informed decisions on their health care. Patients come to the surgery center from all over the country and Canada because of the high quality care they provide at a lower cost. Unfortunately, the GAO report reveals that CMS is failing to provide similar transparency on the cost and quality of health care. Congress should call on CMS to improve their transparency tools, allowing consumers to compare providers based on out-of-pocket costs, patient-reported outcomes, and the combination of cost and quality information.”    

You can read the entire report here.