Tennessee House Republicans recently introduced a bill labeled “The Care Plan.” This proposed legislation is intended to lower the price of health care primarily through price transparency and free market competition of healthcare providers. This, in my opinion would be a good thing. Everyone wants their insurance premium to go down, but the cost of health care drives the cost of premiums, not the other way around. So an overall reduction in medical costs should result in lower overall monthly insurance bills, at least theoretically, right?
You wouldn’t order from a restaurant menu with no prices, would you?
I applaud these efforts but warn that this is the beginning of a long and tough fight. Health care providers, I believe, like the secrecy they now enjoy in pricing to result in higher profits. Why compete on price if you don’t have to? So expect the medical profession to fight this effort. Also most Americans are programmed to not inquire about pricing from their doctor and then haggle over whether the price is fair. Think about it – medical care is the only service or product we pay for in this country where we have no idea of the cost on the front end. You wouldn’t order from a restaurant menu with no prices, would you?
The most important step in lowering healthcare costs is open pricing and competition, but it won’t be as simple as passing one bill. The latest proposal by the Tennessee House Republicans is a good first step. I only hope they keep up the effort and momentum spreads nationwide.