The Trump Administration recently issued two new healthcare rules that will allow patients to have complete access and control over their medical data. These rules will give patients portability over their data across medical providers while ensuring that this sensitive patient data is protected.
Under the current system, patients lack the ability to easily control their own health records and securely share them with doctors and hospitals. Since 2009, taxpayers have spent over $36 billion on electronic health records (EHRs), but the problem still hasn’t resolved itself. Compatibility across systems is shoddy, patients still have issues accessing their records, and buggy EHR software is ripe for fraud and abuse.
President Trump has consistently focused on improving and modernizing the healthcare system to the benefit of American patients. To that end, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the “MyHealthEd” initiative in 2018 to give patients better access and portability of their healthcare data.
This initiative led to new healthcare rules from two federal agencies: CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Both rules streamline pathways for patients to access their health data via secure mobile applications. The rules allow patients to build a cumulative healthcare record that they access wherever they go. This will empower patients to more easily and securely access and release their data to providers of their choice. In turn, this increased flexibility and modernization will improve care coordination and lead to more efficient treatment.
While any proposal to improve transparency should be welcomed, it is important that proposals protect consumer data and privacy, gives consumers information they can readily use, and do not result in unintended consequences that increase prices or make the healthcare system more complex. Policies that expand the size and scope of government should be rejected in favor of proposals that increase choice and access.
These new portability rules build on the Trump Administration’s record of reforming healthcare so that patients have more options.
- Last year the administration finalized a rule allowing employers to offer health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to their employees to purchase insurance as an alternative to employer provided care. Rather than offering a health plan, an HRA allows an employer to offer employees funds to purchase care they wish. HRA funds are tax free to both the employer and employee and roll over year to year.
- Trump also expanded access to short-term, limited duration health insurance plans, allowing families and individuals to purchase these health plans for 12 months with a total of 36 months of renewability. These plans are exempt from Obamacare’s costly mandates and regulations, meaning more Americans will have access to affordable and flexible healthcare. As a result, these plans are expected to be 50 to 80 percent cheaper and will offer millions of Americans flexible care after several years of increasing premiums and narrowing choices in the Obamacare marketplace.
- The Administration has also proposed allowing small businesses to band together and form association health plans (AHP). Like short-term plans, AHPs are exempt from many Obamacare regulations and give workers and employers increased flexibility to offer care. Democrats are currently holding this rule up in court, and the government is waiting for a ruling on its appeal.
Going forward, the Trump Administration should continue working with the private sector to lower costs, increase efficiency, and open up the healthcare system for patients.