Rep. Steve Kagene (D-WI)
Congressman Steven Kagen (D-Wisc. 8th District) on Thursday introduced new legislation that he believes will “fix what’s broken in health care,” according to a February 25th press release.
Rep. Kagen’s bill is designed to create what he hopes will be a "transparent and highly competitive medical marketplace." The “Transparency in All Health Care Pricing Act of 2010” says that any individual or business that offers health care related products or services must at all times openly disclose all of their prices, including on the Internet.
The Congressman said via the press release:
When was the last time you bought anything without knowing what it cost? My patients, and my constituents, want to know the price of a pill before they swallow it - and certainly before they buy it. They want to go shopping for the best medical products and services at the lowest possible prices. It is the American way.
Prices for our prescription drugs, hospital services and health insurance premiums have shot through the roof, primarily because of an opaque, non-transparent medical marketplace. Everywhere I go, people are saying, ‘Just show me the price, so I will know if I can afford it.’ Everyone knows how much they pay for a cup of coffee, and it is time we finally have a chance to see all of the prices an insurance company has accepted as payment in full for their services.
Kagen is a medical doctor from Appleton, Wisconsin. He earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is board certified in internal medicine, allergy, asthma and immunology, and diagnostic laboratory immunology. He founded the Kagen Allergy Clinics in Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac.
According to the Congressman’s website, he is credited with having discovered many new causes of allergy and asthma. He served for seven years as the exclusive Allergy Consultant to the CNN news network.
Dr. Kagen certainly knows the ins and outs of the health care industry. And certainly his call for transparency in medical pricing is called for, a long-needed no-brainer. However, one wonders how this will “fix” the vast problems contributing to the unmanageably high rise in the cost of health care? Unlike a cup of coffee, a patient does not always have the option of where to obtain a procedure or whether or not to purchase a one-of-a kind pharmaceutical product. For many people the choice of insurance isn’t even an option.
Perhaps the fix to the current health care mess will happen in small steps. Hopefully Congress will look at Dr. Kagen’s proposal with an open-mind and the Republicans will refrain from obstructing it and the Demcrats will have the wherewithall to fight for it. But hopefully, too, Dr. Kagen understands that much more needs to be done to make health care affordable for all Americans in a democratic manner.
For more info: Rep. Steve Kagen's website