“THIS IS OUR MOMENT IN TIME. WE ARE AT A CROSSROADS, WHERE WE EITHER DELIVER TO AMERICA A FREE MARKET, OR MEDICARE FOR ALL.” - Cynthia A. Fisher
Amid this global pandemic, PatientRightsAdvocate.org (PRA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization that provides a voice for consumers—patients, employees, employers, and taxpayers—to have transparency in healthcare. Yesterday I had the opportunity to interview Cynthia A. Fisher, the PRA founder, on the radio. She talked about the fight for transparency in prices. She is fighting for new rules and laws requiring hospitals to publish their discounted rates. This would create competition and send patient costs tumbling down. (Listen here)
“This is our moment. Requiring hospitals and insurers to reveal their cash and secret negotiated prices will not only empower patients by putting them in charge but will also help employers and workers.”
91 percent of Americans surveyed want price transparency. Unfortunately, politicians are getting in the way. Special interests representing those who profit from keeping patients in the dark – namely hospitals, insurance companies, and big pharma -- have a lot of influence with Congress. Imagine that – politicians looking out for their own good at the expense of the consumer.
She also is fighting for digital access to medical records. Truly broad transparency will also allow patients to have access to their own medical records, so once they find that better, lower-cost doctor, they can easily share their health information with that physician and provide him or her a complete health picture.
Yet health IT companies, hospital systems, and networks, in their desire to protect their market share and increase revenues, hoard our data, block us from sharing it, and even sell it for profit. They use electronic health records not to enhance care, but to enhance billing.
She also says that hospitals need to drop their lawsuits. Nearly two-thirds of these hospitals don’t pay any taxes. In exchange for paying no taxes, these “nonprofits” are supposed to provide free care to the sick and needy. Yet these same hospitals, which are part of the most lucrative industry in America, are suing our government – with our tax dollars – for its rule requiring them to reveal their hidden prices. As if that weren’t ludicrous enough, these hospitals are also suing patients who can’t afford to pay their bills.
Cynthia is fighting the good fight. At the end of the day, the real problem points back to Washington, like everything else. Considering that 91% of Americans want price transparency, this should be a no brainer.