President Donald Trump recently announced concrete steps to improve transparency in health care costs. They seem like slam-dunk moves that will right one of the great wrongs in our current system: that people generally have no idea what they are paying until they are presented with a nonnegotiable bill.
But despite the seeming logic of forcing insurers and providers to be more forthcoming with information for patients, it is not enough — and could even be counterproductive. Indeed, it underscores why tinkering with the current way of doing business won’t be close to sufficient to cure our diseased system.
The Democrats must present plans that do what Americans really need — guarantee that every one of us not only has the care we need but that we can pay for it.
The two regulatory changes Trump announced Friday would provide hospital patients and people enrolled in private insurance plans more information about how much health care actually costs them. On their face, they make radical sense. But my experience working for health insurance companies convinces me that they will probably be blocked. And the typical rationale for how transparency can help consumers doesn’t apply in the nonsensical health care industry. The president’s Democratic opponents must embrace a different approach.