The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) released a study on Tuesday that shows greater price transparency in health care prices leads to lower costs for the consumer.
In an interview with Steve Scaffidi on 620 WTMJ, study author Will Flanders explained what other states have done to increase health care cost transparency.
“So we do have some states that are kind of leading the way on price transparency,” Flanders said. “What these states have done is they’ve set up an all payers database where you can actually see the average cost of someone with your insurance has had for a particular procedure.”
Using data from the Center for Disease Control, the study found that states that have this level of price transparency report a reduction in the number of people that say they can’t afford their health care.
“We found about a seven percent reduction in the number of people expressing that they are unable to afford to go to the doctor,” said Flanders. “So it does seem to be some evidence that suggests that putting these transparency laws into place can actually make a difference.”
Wisconsin currently doesn’t have the transparency laws that other states have.
“At the state level, a good solution would be to put into place the system they have in New Hampshire,” Flanders said. “Under that system you can go online and click a procedure, click your insurance and two minutes later you’re looking at the average cost that people pay for that procedure.”
Flanders also said the federal government could do more to increase transparency, too.
“Representative (Mike) Gallagher (WI-08) has proposed legislation that would sort of create this system across the country and there’s also been support from President Trump for creating more price transparency,” Flanders said. “So really this is one of those times where, whether it’s the state level or the federal level, the solution is very similar. Let’s get more transparency so people can see what they’re actually going to pay.”
The study, co-written with Jessica Holmberg, can be found at the WILL website. The Scaffidi interview with Flanders begins at the 01:12:27 mark.