Cassidy plans bill mandating price transparency in health care

Cassidy plans bill mandating price transparency in health care
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Lawmakers pitch dueling plans for paid family leave New push to break deadlock on paid family leave MORE (R-La.) on Tuesday said that he hopes to soon introduce legislation mandating price transparency in health care to enable patients to compare prices before getting procedures.

Cassidy told Fox News Radio that the legislation would mean that “if somebody gets an X-ray order for their child's belly, they will know the cost of that before they go in to get it done and they can price shop.”

“We hope to introduce soon legislation mandating price transparency,” he added.

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Cassidy and a bipartisan group of senators first sought feedback on the idea in March.

The idea is one of several that Cassidy, a doctor who helped lead efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare last year, put forward in a white paper released Tuesday.

That paper includes his signature idea of giving block grants to states to replace ObamaCare funding but also branches out into other areas like price transparency.

Cassidy also said he plans to introduce legislation soon on drug prices, including banning “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from informing patients when they could save money on a drug by paying cash instead of using insurance.

The Trump administration sent letters this month calling for an end to this practice as part of the president’s drug pricing plan, but Cassidy's legislation would go further by making the practice illegal.

“We think we'll have a nice partnership with the president on this,” Cassidy said.

He acknowledged that the proposals could draw opposition from powerful industry groups.

“There's always going to be pushback when people are making lots of money because the American citizen doesn't know what's going on,” he said in the radio interview.

Democrats seized on another aspect of Cassidy’s white paper, which calls for codifying a Trump administration regulation expanding cheaper, skimpier short-term insurance plans that do not need to meet ObamaCare requirements.

“Cassidy wants to finalize the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal to stick millions of Americans with skimpy plans that can discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, refuse to cover essential services like hospitalization or prescription drugs and stick unsuspecting patients with enormous medical bills,” said Brad Woodhouse, campaign director for the pro-ObamaCare group Protect Our Care.