On Tuesday, September 18th the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee held the fourth in a series of five hearings intended to examine the drivers of high U.S. healthcare costs.

The hearing, entitled Reducing Health Care Costs: Examining How Transparency Can Lower Spending and Empower Patients, was presided over by Chairman Lamar Alexander, the ranking senator from the state of Tennessee.

Preparation and research for the session was led by a bi-partisan group of senior healthcare staff for several of the committees leading voices on health reform, including staff from Senators Alexander (R-TN), Hatch (R-UT), Warren (D-MA), Cassidy (R-LA) and others. Over the course of the summer HELP Committee staff members, both Republican and Democrat, spent several hours with the Bluebook team to learn more about healthcare price and quality variance across the U.S., the economic impact to consumers and employers, and best practices for educating consumers on how to shop and save.

After several sessions discussing the price and quality challenges faced by consumers and employers, our Co-Founder Bill Kampine was invited to be a witness at the fourth hearing, Examining How Transparency Can Lower Spending and Empower Patients.

Bill spoke at length about how a lack of transparency costs consumers and employers billions each year, how easy to use transparency tools like Bluebook make it easy for patients to save, and offered policy considerations to ensure that all Americans have access to effective transparency, including:

  • Ensuring employers have full access to their claims data
  • The importance of third-party independent transparency providers who are free from conflict of interest
  • Increased access to CMS data to improve quality measurement
  • Flexibility for creating value-based plan design and incentives, such as waiving OOP costs for HSA eligible plans
  • Encouraging vigilance regarding the impact that provider consolidation has on increasing prices

During the hearing, Bill stated, “When consumers understand that they should shop for care and have access to transparency tools, they will use those tools to compare cost and quality… and the data tells us that consumers who shop consistently select lower cost, higher quality providers than those who do not.”

Along with Bluebook was representation from long-time partner, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA).

“If we are to truly empower patients to get the best value for their health care dollars, both price and quality data must be transparent, meaningful and comparable across all settings where care is available”, said Ty Tibbits of St. George Surgery Center.

One thing remained consistent between Bluebook and St. George; healthcare price and quality data need to be more transparent for all Americans if we have any hope of lowering the cost of care.

Bluebook was proud to represent our industry on a topic that remains one of the most deliberated in our country today.

We continue to innovate and be at the forefront of solutions that empower patients to get the best quality and most cost-effective care.

Interested in how Healthcare Bluebook can give your organization and employees the highest quality, most cost-effective healthcare? Learn more about our solutions here.