There seems to be a discouraging absence of reliable information regarding the out-of-pocket pricing and quality of health care, and many recipients of Medicare benefits and other health care policies find it difficult to choose the policy that is right for their needs and budget. While a wide variety of websites exist designed to help those with Medicare eligibility find a fitting solution to their health care needs, a recent examination conducted by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has found that at least five major health care information databases have “critical weaknesses” that often omit crucial information.
The study was conducted to assess the progress made toward the Department of Health and Human Services’ goal of making health care costs more easily comparable and transparent. Many policies have hidden fees that the recipient is unaware of until it’s too late, and websites like those examined are missing crucial information that would otherwise help recipients choose their plan more wisely.
These websites are run by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, and because of missing information, unclear navigation, and poor website design, even officials at the Government Accountability Office found it too difficult to compare hospitals, nursing homes, physicians, and providers of services like dialysis and home health care.
It also seems that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare are aware of the issues with their database, but are actively resisting pressure to make changes because of even more pressure from health care providers who want the database to remain incomplete. The concerns of health care providers seem to be taking priority over the concerns of patients, and this can lead to health care recipients paying thousands more than they need to for crucial, lifesaving treatment.
Senator Pat Toomey sees great value in a more transparent system of health care. “Armed with the facts, it will be possible for consumers to obtain high quality care and drive down costs,” he said in a statement to the Associated Press.
How do you think the manipulation of health care databases could impact American health care at large? What do you think should be done to solve these issues? Feel free to share your insight in the comments section below.