Executive Order Aims to Provide Transparent Information About the Price and Quality of Care

July 12, 2019

President Trump recently signed an executive order, “Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Health Care to Put Patients First,” aiming to provide patients with more transparent information about the price and quality of health care services so that patients can make better-informed decisions about their care.

The executive order directs relevant federal agencies to issue regulations and guidance on price, quality, and medical data transparency. It also marks the latest Administration effort to address the high cost of health care in the United States.

Specifically, the executive order requires the Secretary of The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose regulations that would require hospitals to publicly post standard charge information—including charges and information based on negotiated rates for services, supplies, or fees billed—in an easy-to-read format. The regulations would also require hospitals to regularly update such information.

The executive order affects a wide swath of federal agencies. For example, HHS—in partnership with the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission—must issue a report on government and private sector entities that are impeding health care price and quality transparency, and to provide recommendations for improving such transparency. Furthermore, the Secretaries of HHS, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veteran Affairs must develop a “Health Quality Roadmap” that aims to align and improve quality measures and quality data reporting across federal health insurance programs.

Under the order, the Secretary of HHS (and other agencies) must also increase access to de-identified claims data from federal health care programs and group health plans for researchers, innovators, providers, and entrepreneurs.

The executive order further directs the Secretary of the Treasury to issue guidance on expanding patients’ ability of to select a high-deductible health plan that can be used with a Health Savings Account. It also directs the Secretary of the Treasury to propose regulations on which services are considered medical expenses and to propose guidance on increasing the amount of flexible spending account funds that can be carried over without penalty at the end of each year.

Lastly, the executive order directs the Secretary of HHS to submit a report to the President of the United States on additional steps the Administration can take to address the issue of surprise medical billing.

ASCO supports efforts to improve transparency around the cost of cancer care to help patients make more informed decisions about their treatment. The society will take every opportunity to work with the Administration to implement policies that achieve meaningful transparency and improved cancer care.

Visit ASCO in Action for updates on efforts to address the cost of cancer care and breaking cancer policy news.