A top House lawmaker wants consumers to have as much information as possible on what health services such as MRIs, pharmaceuticals, or CT scans cost.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., said Wednesday that he is speaking with colleagues in the Senate on greater price transparency. The remarks come a few days after Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said he is pursuing legislation to establish more transparency on healthcare prices for drugs and procedures.
“There is a lack of transparency in pricing from one end to the other, in both pharmaceuticals and procedures,” Walden told reporters Wednesday.
Walden gave an example of laser eye surgery to improve eyesight called Lasik.
“You listen to the radio, and there are ads for Lasik eye surgery, and they tell you the price,” he said.
The reason Lasik is upfront with the price is because insurance doesn’t typically cover the surgery, so consumers need to shop around.
“You are paying out of pocket, and there is competition out there,” Walden said. “I think we benefit as a country when consumers are empowered with information, and providers are competing for your business in a transparent way.”
Cassidy told the Washington Examiner that he hopes to introduce legislation this week or next.
Walden didn’t say if he is going to introduce companion legislation, but said the issue will receive major attention this year.
“We’ve got to empower consumers with more information and opportunity to make choices,” he said.