5 Things to Read on Health Care Costs 

Our roundup includes a three articles exploring hospital prices, new details on the Trump administration's plan on drugs costs, and more.

A new rule seeks to shed light on hospital prices

Under a new federal rule, hospitals must post their standard charges online for all to see, The Hill reported. In the past, hospitals just had to make the information available upon request. “This is a small step towards providing our beneficiaries with price transparency, but our work in this area is only just beginning,” said Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

… Meanwhile, the costs of care are often unclear, even to hospitals

A Wisconsin hospital that performs about 400 knee replacements each year “lacked even an estimated cost for knee-replacement surgery,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The price of the procedure varies greatly from hospital to hospital, even among hospitals that demonstrate similar outcomes. The article explains this one hospital’s journey to discover just how much a knee replacement really costs — and how to lower that cost.

[Related: Should Health Care Be a Package Deal?]

… And hospitals are big piece of overall health care spending

While drug prices have been the center of political and media attention, Axios points out that inpatient hospital care is a bigger share of per capita health spending. Axios contacted 27 hospital systems to find out if they would voluntarily freeze their prices as a handful of pharmaceutical companies have done in response to political pressure.

Trump team’s plan to lower drug prices 

Kaiser Health News highlights five key parts of the Trump administration’s strategy to lower drug costs: doing away with rebates, allowing Medicare to use step therapy to negotiate lower prices, paying for drugs based on how well they help the patient, use trade agreements to raise the price of drugs abroad, and increase competition among drugmakers. 

Concerns over cost cause many to skip care

In a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, 22% said they or a family member had skipped care in the past year because they were worried about the cost. Forty-one percent said they received a medical bill in the past year that was more expensive than they expected. Read more from Healthcare Dive.

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5 Things to Read on Health Care Costs

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