Trump issues executive order to bring transparency to health care prices

The Trump administration is working on regulations that will require health care providers and insurers to tell patients how much a service will cost before they get it.

President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE, in an executive order issued Monday, directed the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to put out rules requiring hospitals disclose prices that reflect what patients and insurers “actually pay” for services.

The rules aim to bring more transparency to a health care system where patients usually don’t find out how much a procedure costs until they get the bill in the mail.


This will “go down as one of the most significant steps in the long history of American health care reform," said Alex Azar, the secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services.

The rules will also require health care providers and insurers to tell patients about the out-of-pocket costs they’ll face before they receive health care services.

Azar said the rules would drive down prices because it would empower patients to shop around for the best costs.

The administration says that is difficult to do in the current health care system because hospitals and providers often do not provide quotes for services.

“Everyday American patients are being taken advantage of by a system that hides critical information from them that they need to make decisions for them and their families,” Azar said.

The agencies will also look at regulation to address “surprise billing,” which is when patients end up with a bill their insurance company won’t pay.

Trump has sought to make health care costs a key part of his 2020 reelection campaign. 

But most of his policies have been limited in scope and are being challenged in court. 

"We're taking power away from bureaucrats, we're taking it away from insurance companies and away from special interests," Trump said Monday at an executive order signing. 

"We're giving that power back to patients, and we're giving Americans the right to know."

The administration is also working on proposals that they say will help lower prescription drug costs.

Updated at 4:57 pm.