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collage of capitol dome with stars in a sepia version A health care SEC would demand and collect all prices and data on outcomes, and require certified, independent appraisers to attest that the numbers comply with accepted measurement standards. (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Bloomberg Opinion) –The U.S. health care system suffers from a lack of transparency. Employers, insurers and individual consumers pay varying prices for treatments, drugs and digital information of varying quality, without knowing whether the prices are relatively high or low, or whether they receive good value for the money. This protects providers from needing to compete on the price and quality of their care. Lack of competition, in turn, inflates the cost and probably also diminishes the quality of health care.

President Donald Trump’s administration has begun to shine a light on the situation by requiring hospitals to publish their charges. Beginning next January, they must do so in a manner that consumers can easily understand. The required information includes the rates hospitals negotiate with insurers. And insurers, for their part, will need to reveal how much they pay both in-network and out-of-network providers, and disclose consumers’ cost-sharing liability.

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