OR: Senate considers greater health care cost transparency

Next Wednesday the Senate Health Care Committee will hold a public hearing for legislation aimed at lifting the veil between the public and the real costs of providing health care. SB 900, Chief Sponsored by Senator Jeff Kruse (R-01), calls on the Oregon Health Authority to post on its website the median prices paid to hospitals and outpatient clinics for the 50 most common inpatient procedures and the 100 most common outpatient procedures.

The requirements in this bill would replace existing language that calls for cost transparency to be made available to consumers in order to make economically-sound and medically-appropriate decisions. The language in SB 900 is much more explicit, calling for the authority to post specific information, in a consumer friendly format, on its website.

The bill provides no funding for making cost transparency available to consumers and calls on the OHA to secure needed funding from donations, grants, and gifts. The requirements in the bill are limited based on the ability of the authority to raise the necessary funds.

The bill has the support of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems as well as a total of nine sponsors from both parties.