California Healthline: Hearing Mulls Effect of ACA, Health Care Transparency on Costs

During a Senate Committee on Finance hearing Tuesday, health experts urged lawmakers to look beyond health care transparency and the Affordable Care Act to control the increasing cost of health care, Kaiser Health News‘ “Capsules” reports (Tran, “Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 6/18).

The committee hearing was held partly in response to an article published in Time in March by journalist Steven Brill, which highlighted dramatic differences in health care prices across the U.S. (Bell, LifeHealthPro, 6/18).

Effect of Transparency Debated

During the hearing, Brill said although he supports efforts to make health care price information publicly available, he believes increasing transparency has its limits (“Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 6/18). Brill said, “Transparency can only go so far” in addressing the real cost problems, noting that even when provided with pricing data, most patients are unable to do anything to avoid the high costs. Brill added, “While transparency starts the conversation about prices … it’s only a start.”

Other experts agreed with Brill. Castlight Health CEO Giovanni Colella said, “Making [CMS] data accessible will help everyone better understand quality of care and cost of care,” but it would do little to solve the problem (Pogorelc, MedCity News, 6/18).

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