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Trump Administration Outlines Extensive Health Care Deregulation Agenda

December 17, 2018

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor released a 114-page report detailing an agenda for health care deregulation meant to reduce prices and increase quality and access.

“One of the most important mechanisms available to enhance the value Americans receive for their healthcare spending is increased competition,” states the report released on December 3. “Market competition should encourage healthcare providers to charge lower prices and provide higher-quality services. Although the traditional view among economists is that government should step in to correct so-called market failures, this report finds many cases where government regulation and rules prevent healthcare markets from working efficiently.”

The Trump administration has already implemented several policy reforms to increase choice and competition in the health care marketplace. These include making it easier for consumers to buy short term, limited-duration insurance plans and association health plans, both of which have been shown to be significantly more affordable than Obamacare exchange plans.

The report, titled “Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition,” outlines plans to build on this foundation. The departments also consulted with the Federal Trade Commission and “several offices within the White House” in preparing the report, the study’s cover letter to President Donald Trump states.

‘Very Encouraging’ Agenda

The policy suggestions in the report include encouraging states to repeal certificate of need laws, which restrict market entry, and broadening scope-of-practice laws for clinicians such as physician assistants.

Other proposed reforms include reimbursing providers for telehealth services, permitting interstate medical licensing, decreasing restrictions on physician-owned hospitals, and implementing site-neutral payment policies.

Justin Haskins, a research fellow for The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News, says the new report is further proof the Trump administration is dedicated to freeing the health care marketplace from burdensome government regulations.

“All of the goals laid out in the report are necessary to inject life into our broken health care marketplace,” Haskins said. “Free markets control costs and increase quality better than a government program ever could.”

“This blueprint for competition is very encouraging,” Haskins said.

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Health Care
Author
Sarah Lee is a policy advisor for health care and a host of Heartland's Health Care News podcast.
slee@heartland.org