Back to top

Context From The Talk

Scott Atlas On Why Competition, Not Laws, Will Make Health Care Prices Visible

Importance of Price Visibility

“The question really is there legislation necessary to do that [price visibility], because we don’t do that in other goods and services. You don’t have to say to the computer store “you have to show your prices.” The fact is that the most compelling reason for doctors and hospitals to post their prices would be knowing that they’re competing for patients’ money. When patients care what they’re spending, they’re going to save money and this is not an assertion; it’s proven in the literature. 

We can also look back at things that weren’t covered at all by insurance. Here I am talking about whole-body CTs and whole-body MRI screenings. I’m a neuroradiologist, so I am very familiar with what happened. When that came out, it was $1,500 - $2,000 in the shopping mall and within a year or two, the prices came down to $300. Now that’s not the only reason was that patients were paying, but that’s a critical part. There’s a value seeking behavior that is completely mission from the equation here.

So, it’s factually proven that when the prices are visible and when signs of quality are visible, which they would be once you have a competitive environment, the prices come down significantly. The key point here is it’s not just the prices for the people who have the health savings accounts. We want health savings accounts as a vehicle to reduce the prices of medical care while avoiding the way other countries do this, which is by limiting access to care. This way it’s really consumer driven, to use the phrase that you’re using, and that is the way to get prices down without negatively impacting quality.” 

To watch the full Economic Committee meeting with Scott Atlas, click here.