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Nation & World

Trump order pushes for disclosure of secret health care prices

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump called for hospitals to disclose to patients up front how much they charge for tests, surgeries and other procedures, in an executive order he signed Monday.

The federal regulations Trump is calling for push forward a relatively simple idea: that patients should know how much hospitals charge for common procedures. Those prices are typically trade secrets between hospitals and the insurers they negotiate with.

The administration also wants to make medical providers and insurers give their patients estimates of out-of-pocket costs before they get care.

“We’re fundamentally changing the nature of the health care marketplace,” Trump said at the White House on Monday. “Prices will come down by numbers you can’t even believe.”

The Trump administration has advocated for bringing down health care costs by making prices more visible, boosting competition and reducing regulation. Trump has also called on Congress to pass legislation to stop surprise billing, while major pharmaceutical companies are revealing drug prices online in a bid to stave off pressure from the administration.

Many health care prices are veiled behind contracts between hospitals and insurers. Employers and patients have complained that such secrecy keeps prices high and makes it harder to shop for services.

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