State House debates right to shop for health care

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By: Michael Siebert

A bill that would encourage shopping for health care services and provide increased transparency in pricing drew testimony in the House Human Services Committee last week.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 96, introduced by Sen. Cary Smith, R-Billings, 34-16 in late February. It would require health care providers and insurers to tell a patient the cost of a treatment beforehand. It would also give patients a financial incentive to find cheaper treatments.

Four people supported the bill at the House hearing last week, all of whom said transparency was necessary in the face of rising health care costs.

“The bill empowers consumers with the transparent information they need,” state Auditor Matt Rosendale said.

Rosendale said he thinks the bill “doesn’t go far enough,” but added that he was willing to make concessions.

“I think they should be able to go online and get that information,” Rosendale said.

Read more at the Great Falls Tribune