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Trump executive order will benefit all

Furthers a transparency goal long pursued by Sen. Grassley

Health care is expensive.

There was a time when people who had excellent health insurance coverage didn’t pay much attention to what hospitals and health care providers charged. Those days are becoming just a memory. Insurance coverage increasingly comes with hefty copays and deductibles. That means that even when insurance pays for the bulk of our medical expenses most of us will still face sometimes hefty out-of-pocket payments.

The incentive to be health care consumers who pay attention to what is being charged is increasing. Unfortunately, obtaining accurate information about health care prices long has been difficult. Sometimes care is required so urgently that cost comparisons aren’t a realistic option. However, even when there is time to be a frugal consumer and seek the best prince, it has been hard to learn what the prices will be so comparisons can be made.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley has long advocated requiring that useful price information be provided to the public. The goal is to increase competition and thereby bring about lower prices.

Consequently, the Iowa Republican has strongly praised an executive order issued June 24 by President Donald Trump. The order directs his administration to require hospitals and other health care providers to make available to consumers pricing information in formats that can be understood and allow meaningful price comparisons. The president made clear in a statement regarding this executive order that facilitating competition is part of his strategy to contain costs.

“We should … require drug companies, insurance companies and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down,” Trump said.

Grassley, who was present for the signing ceremony at the White House, said the president’s action is very good news for all Americans.

“When consumers have access to information and can easily compare products, they end up saving money and are happier with their purchase,” Grassley said. “That certainly holds true for health care.”

Iowa’s senior senator is strongly committed to making the health care system more transparent.

“There’s too much secrecy in the industry, from why prescription drugs cost what they do to how much an extended stay in the hospital will end up costing after being discharged,” Grassley said. “Increasing transparency holds hospitals, health care providers, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies accountable for what they charge patients.

The Messenger agrees with Grassley about the need for more transparency and that President Trump’s executive order “will take this problem head on.” We commend the president for issuing this important executive order. We also applaud Grassley for keeping this issue a priority for presidential and congressional action.