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Trump administration preparing executive order on health-cost disclosure, regional hospital monopolies

President Trump is expected to release an executive order as early as next week to mandate the disclosure of prices in the health-care industry, according to people familiar with the discussion.

The order could direct federal agencies to pursue actions to force a host of players in the industry to divulge cost data, the people said. The administration is also looking at using agencies such as the Justice Department to tackle regional monopolies of hospitals and health-insurance plans over concerns they are driving up the cost of care, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
The White House declined to comment on its plans.
While the administration has been discussing various initiatives to increase price transparency in the health-care industry, the executive order is a presidential directive with the force of law. If the concepts are acted upon, that could upend an industry long used to transacting in private.
The White House has been working for months on a strategy officials believe will lower health-care costs by giving consumers and employers data for the first time on the discounted and negotiated rates between insurers, hospitals, doctors and other providers.



  1. The FDA just approved the most expensive drug in the world—a $2 million Novartis (+3.63%) gene therapy treatment.

    The drug, called Zolgensma, is a one-time treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The muscle-wasting disease is a leading genetic cause of infant mortality and affects one in every 11,000 births.

    Novartis recognizes the chances of being able to pony up seven figures may be even slimmer. But it’s in “advanced discussions” with 15+ insurers over payment options.

    Part of the pricing rationale: A one-time Zolgensma treatment is about 50% less than the 10-year cost of current chronic SMA management.
    Novartis will have a lot on its plate, though. First, it’ll have to justify a price tag that many say is untenable for a healthcare system that’s nearly collapsing under its own financial weight. Plus, Novartis has competition—Biogen’s Spinraza SMA drug was approved in 2016 and did $1.7 billion in sales last year.

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