Here’s one reason to be optimistic about the war on health care price inflation: Colorado and 11 other states are beginning to create laws and institutions aimed at making health care prices more transparent. Kaiser Health News reports on CIVHC, a non-profit trying to make state medical prices available to everyone:
It’s taken years. An “all payer claims database” is step one in Colorado. It’s basically a giant shoebox that aims to collect a copy of every receipt for a health care service in a given state. Since doctors and hospitals generally don’t tell people how much services cost beforehand, the best way to figure it out is to get receipts from the parties that pay the bills: insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare, mostly […]Laws had to be passed to get insurance companies to send in their claims data—the receipts for what they’re paying—and sorting through all the information is a lot tougher than organizing a pile of paper receipts in a shoebox.
The future of Colorado price transparency hangs on whether CIVHC can continue to fund its efforts. It has apparently used up all the private grants it received for the project.Even if CIVHC doesn’t find additional funding, this story tells us that state-level health care leaders and politicians are catching on to just how vital price transparency is. It’s encouraging that politicians are coordinating their efforts with the non-profits by passing laws that help the process along.This is real progress, but it’s still going to be a long, hard slog. All the more reason to get to work.