Proposed Bill Would Increase Healthcare Cost Transparency | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Proposed Bill Would Increase Healthcare Cost Transparency

March 13, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Much has been made of the industry efforts to increase the transparency of healthcare costs, but two Senators say it’s not enough.

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced legislation this week, the Quality Data, Quality Healthcare Act, which would reform the Qualified Entity (QE) program, an effort that allows organizations to access and analyze comprehensive Medicare data for select purposes. Current laws, the Senators say, are too restrictive on which organizations can participate in the QE program and what can be done with that data.

With this bill, those organizations would receive Medicare data to analyze and redistribute it to authorized subscribers (insurers, health systems, and physicians) so that subscribers can make more informed decisions and organizations can conduct robust analyses to improve healthcare quality and reduce costs. 

“Medicare is the single largest payer of healthcare services in the country, spending over $600 billion each year. But we know very little about what we are paying for,” Senator Baldwin said in a statement. “The Quality Data, Quality Healthcare Act provides access to that data and puts it into the hands of those who can best use it, helping doctors make more informed decisions and improving how we deliver healthcare.”

It’s not the first time Baldwin and Thune have introduced the legislation. In 2013, she tried to introduce a similar bill, which ended up being referred to the Committee on Finance. Over the past few years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released Medicare payment data. Baldwin says those efforts “lack the necessary detail and context to be most useful.”

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



NCQA Approved by Government as an ONC-Authorized Testing Lab

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has announced that its eMeasure testing laboratory is now approved by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Survey: Infrastructure, Interoperability Key Barriers to Global HIT Development

A new survey report from Black Book Research on global healthcare IT adoption and records systems connectivity finds nations in various phases of regional electronic health record (EHR) adoption. The survey results also reveal rapidly advancing opportunities for U.S.-based and local technology vendors.

Penn Medicine Opens Up Telehealth Hub

Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine has opened its Center for Connected Care to centralize the health system’s telemedicine activities.

Roche to Pay $1.9B for Flatiron Health

Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Roche has agreed to pay $1.9 billion to buy New York-based Flatiron Health Inc., which has both an oncology EHR and data analytics platform.

Financial Exec Survey: Interoperability Key Obstacle to Value-Based Payment Models

Momentum continues to grow for value-based care as nearly three-quarters of healthcare executives report their organizations have achieved positive financial results from value-based payment programs, to date, according to a new study from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Cerner, Children's National to Help UAE Pediatric Center with Health IT

Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital, the only pediatric hospital in the United Arab Emirates, has entered into an agreement with Washington, D.C.-based Children's National Health System to form a health IT strategic partnership.