U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday which he calls a "groundbreaking action" that will increase the "quality, affordability, and fairness" in the U.S. healthcare system.
The order would require hospitals to disclose prices up front showing what patients can expect to pay for services in a manner Trump says will be "clear, straightforward, and accessible."
This also means patients must be told at the beginning how much they can expect to pay out-of-pocket for deductibles and co-pays.
Trump says patients would be able to find another doctor if their first choice is too high.
"We believe the American people have a right to know the price of services before they go to visit the doctor," he said.
The president complained that for decades, insurance companies, lobbyists, and special interests have not been transparent in disclosing the real costs of medical procedures to patients, often leaving them with huge bills and unexpected costs.
"This lack of price transparency has enriched industry giants greatly, costing Americans hundreds of billions of dollars a year."
Trump says he has seen such bills as $800 for saline, $6,000 for simple drug tests, and more than $17,000 to stitch a wound.
He also said prices can vary greatly between doctors and hospital in the same city for the same procedure.
But because of the complex process of writing the rules for the president’s executive order, it could be years before patients see any changes or price lists at their local hospitals.