March 19, 2018

VIDEO: Cassidy: Momentum is Building for Price Transparency in Health Care

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Fox Business today to discuss the bipartisan effort he is leading to develop legislation to improve price transparency in the health care market and lower costs.

Key excerpts of Dr. Cassidy’s remarks are transcribed below.

CASSIDY: We need to lower health care costs. We need to lower pharmaceutical costs. And one thing we’ve been promoting is so-called price transparency. Someone should know the cost of a procedure or you name it before she has it done as opposed to finding out six months later.

It should be like going online to buy a plane ticket, where you know the date and the time you wish to fly and where you wish to go and you log on, you find the best price. It should be they order a CT scan for your baby’s, your daughter’s abdomen, and you log on and you say, hmm, I can go here for $250 Thursday at midnight or go right now for $2,500. I’ll stay up Thursday at midnight and get my child’s x-ray then. It can happen.

It is happening already. And price transparency, for example, for lasik surgery has been associated, people pay cash. They ask for the price, the prices come down, the quality has improved. We can do that in other areas besides just lasik surgery.

HOST: What kind of reception have you been getting?

CASSIDY: So far we’ve got, we’ve sent a letter. We’ve got three Democrats, three Republicans. Ed Perlmutter, a Democratic congressman from Colorado, is introducing a bill on the House side. We have a bill teed up on the Senate side. UnitedHealth[care] insurance just came out and said they were going to start giving what are called point-of-sale rebates, a form of price transparency, for their folks buying drugs when they’re within their deductible.

Secretary Azar and Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, have both spoken in favor of either the direct concept or an associated concept. We think it is an idea whose time has come.