President Trump signed an executive order this afternoon directing federal agencies to increase healthcare price and quality transparency. The order specifically directs the of Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services to issue guidance and propose regulations that would disclose negotiated rates, cost-of-care and de-identified federal healthcare data, and to expand the availability of Health Savings Accounts. The order does not immediately trigger any new federal policies, except for the specific instructions to the federal agencies to develop regulatory guidance. NAHU will work with these agencies to influence the regulations and ensure that any rules that are promulgated are in the best interest of consumers.
The order includes five main provisions instructing federal agencies to issue guidance that would:
require hospitals to disclose information about their negotiated rates in a format that's understandable and usable by patients.
require insurance companies to provide patients with information about cost of care, including out-of-pocket costs, before they receive services.
develop a comprehensive roadmap for consistent, limited, consumer-centric quality metrics.
disclose de-identified federal healthcare data that protects patient and consumer privacy, enables transformation of the healthcare marketplace, and allows researchers to develop tools and analytics to allow patients to be at the center of their healthcare.
expand the availability of HSAs to cover direct primary care arrangements and healthcare sharing ministries, include more preventive services and products that can be covered in the deductible period, and issue guidance on the amount of funds that can be carried over at the remainder of the year for FSAs.
NAHU has long advocated greater price and quality transparency in healthcare and we commend the Trump Administration for putting forth this proposal. NAHU identified the need for greater transparency in our Healthcare Cost Drivers white paper, where we noted several best practices to include current, accurate, unbiased and relevant data sources, user-friendly access and meaningful quality measures. We further called for addressing these in our overarching position paper for reforming the nation's healthcare system, Access, Choice and Affordability.
The executive order is the president's third major executive action on healthcare since taking office, after the order issued on his first day in office directing federal agencies to ease the regulatory burden of the ACA, and the order issued in October 2017 that led to the development of the rules on Association Health Plans, short-term plans and HRAs.
As with previous executive orders issued by President Trump, this order does not immediately trigger any executive action apart from the instructions issued to the federal agencies to develop regulatory actions. These will need to go through the traditional rulemaking procedures of providing a proposed rule for public comment before being able to enact any final rules. NAHU will be active in the rulemaking process by reaching out to policymakers as they draft any regulations, as well as submitting public comments to any proposed rulemaking.
NAHU will provide more information on this Executive Order in this week's Washington Update and Healthcare Happy Hour podcast.