The Trump administration made a full-court press to bring down healthcare spending in 2019 through increased price transparency and other cost-cutting measures, even when it meant flouting the courts.
In year two of Alex Azar’s reign as HHS secretary, the department doubled down on its efforts to bring the power of market forces to bear on the historically murky world of healthcare prices. Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma fervently argued that exposing prices would increase competition in the healthcare delivery system. They theorized that patients would become more aggressive shoppers, just as they have in virtually every other sector of the economy. Providers would ultimately be forced to win over patients by focusing on quality, patient experience and value.
But hospitals and insurance companies fought back, claiming that the administration’s price transparency rules would be difficult and expensive to implement without providing any benefit to consumers.