States Actively Working to Reform Health Care

Health care reform continues to be a hot topic during the 2020 presidential election. Even though health care reform continues to be a hot topic during the 2020 presidential election, the power to transform health care this year may lie with the states since Congress has not enacted changes.

Health care was a major topic in many governors’ state of the state addresses in 2019 and numerous states passed new legislation aimed at lowering heath care costs and improving quality of care. These changes could foreshadow steps the federal government may eventually take — although not all voters are in favor of federal or state-provided health care.
Here are some examples of current actions or proposed state laws that are making an impact on the health care industry: Price Transparency Health care is unique because consumers often don’t know what the cost will be to see a doctor or undergo a procedure until they receive the service. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers to shop for health care. It also lessens competition among providers and removes the incentive to keep prices low.

To improve transparency, 16 states have implemented mandatory All-Payer Claims Databases (APCDs) to collect health care price and quality information. However, only eight states make the information available to the public. Another consequence of lack of transparency is that patients often don’t know which providers are out-of-network. This can cost significantly more money. Or, patients find out after receiving services that their insurance only covers a portion of the costs — leaving them to pay the balance. More than half of the states have passed or expanded laws to protect patients from these kinds of “surprise” or balance billings.

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