Written by Robert Muschler, Masters of Public Administration candidate (2015), Sol Price School of Public Policy
Recently appointed USC Professor and Schaeffer Center Fellow Paul Ginsburg, Ph.D. presented at the Federal Trade Commission workshop on “Examining Health Care Competition” on March 22, 2014. His talk focused on price transparency in health care.
As concerns about rising health care costs have continued to escalate, a greater emphasis on price transparency has taken place. Traditionally these discussions have revolved around constraints on access to information for consumers. This informational asymmetry makes it difficult for the average consumer to choose a plan that maximizes benefits while minimizing costs in a way that they deem to be most advantageous to them.
As Dr. Ginsburg discussed however, price transparency is not just an issue for consumers. Employers, insurers, ACO’s (bundled payment contractors), physicians and policy makers all have a vested interest in greater access to price information.
Better information leads to better decisions for all parties involved in the healthcare system. While consumer constraints may be most obvious and talked about, they are not alone in their struggle for accurate, accessible and concise information.
Dr. Ginsburg presented that an influx of pertinent pricing information, in conjunction with current tools aimed at analyzing healthcare markets, could lead to more informed decisions that would curtail some of the exorbitant healthcare costs we see today.
The Federal Trade Commission workshop was held at the FTC in Washington, DC on March 20-21. The presentations may be available via the FTC website: http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/2014/03/examining-health-care-competition