In health policy, there’s nothing quite as opaque as price transparency. Insurance companies and hospitals tend to say there’s no place for it in the healthcare sector, since medicine is more complicated than cars or groceries.
Other skeptics say that implementing transparency rules is too hard. Hospitals have largely flouted a two-year-old Trump administration directive that they post their prices online. Parsing the pricing information of those that have complied appears to be beyond the skill set of most ordinary consumers.
But the true problem is that consumers still aren’t incentivized to take advantage of the ability to shop around for the best value that price transparency can enable. Policymakers can change that by making some tweaks to the design of a standard health insurance policy—and inviting consumers to share in any savings they secure.