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Bill would require hospitals, health plans to disclose charge data

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The Health Care Price Transparency Promotion Act (HR 2249), introduced on Tuesday, would require states to mandate disclosure of information on hospital charges. The bill directs states to establish and maintain laws requiring disclosure of information on hospital charges. Additionally, the bill requires hospitals and health plans to make such information available to the public, and to provide individuals with information about estimated out-of-pocket costs for health care services.

As part of the bill, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shall conduct/support research on the types of information on the charges, and out-of-pocket costs, for health care services that individuals find useful in making decisions. They shall also research ways in which such information may be made available on a timely basis and in easy-to-understand form to individuals facing such decisions. The Director of AHRQ shall report to the Congress on the results of such research not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, together with recommendations for ways in which the Federal Government can assist the States in achieving the objective specified.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and Michael Burgess, M.D., (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), John Carter (R-TX) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX). This bill would take effect on October 1, 2010. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (5/5/09).

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