Wars often take years to play out, and assessing their historical impact can take decades. One of the most important factors is determining a turning point. In World War II, it was the battle of Stalingrad. In the Civil War, it was Gettysburg.Providers in general and hospitals in particular are losing so many battles in the war on price transparency so swiftly that really, the only thing left to determine is whether they represent a turning point or just a swifter acceleration toward the inevitable.
The most recent one was the Obama administration’s decision to okay the use of reference pricing. That means if payers want to affix a payment limit on a certain procedure, such as a hip replacement, they can do so as long as it doesn’t restrain patient access to care. Expect insurers to start doing so with all deliberate speed.