Sunday, August 2, 2020
Katherine Gudiksen (UCSF/UC Hastings), Samuel Chang, Jaime S. King (The University of Auckland), The Secret of Health Care Prices: Why Transparency is in the Public Interest Policy Brief, SSRN:
In 2018, California lawmakers sought to design and create a state Health Care Cost Transparency Database, an all-payer claims database (APCD), to collect information on the cost of health care in the state. The law tasks the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) with designing a database to best fit the needs of the state. Of specific interest for this project, California’s APCD may collect information about amounts paid for health care services, including data about negotiated rates between insurance plans and providers. Many health care providers and payers seek to maintain the confidentiality of these paid amounts as trade secrets, claiming their secrecy provides a competitive advantage. Yet the public has begun to demand greater price transparency in health care. This policy brief summarizes the practices of existing APCDs, and concludes with recommendations for California’s policymakers about best practices to ensure the effective use of increased transparency to control costs and increase access to health care services. This policy brief is a companion to The Secret of Health Care Prices: Why Transparency Is in the Public Interest. For the full report visit www.chcf.org/publication/secret-health-care-prices.