The Oklahoma legislature successfully passed HB 1006, Transparency in Health Care Prices Act, in the 2021 session. It was signed into law by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. The law is constructed to ensure patients are better informed about health care costs before receiving medical care. It requires health care providers and facilities to publicize and annually update the cost of the most common health care services.
In many states medical associations are obstacles to health care price transparency. These associations have an effective lobbying arm and wield a great deal of political power in most states. This wasn't the case in Oklahoma. One of the early supporters of the bill was the Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA). OSMA issued a statement supporting the bill saying, "It [HB1006] fits well with regulations hospitals already follow."
Some OSMA members work in hospitals that already utilize price transparency in their medical business models to attract patients. A long time leader and proponent of healthcare price transparency is the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. They have offered a price list to patients on their website since 2009. In a statement on their Facebook page, the center said, 'The Surgery Center of Oklahoma has offered up-front, transparent pricing to patients for over two decades, & now, HB 1006 is making this revolutionary practice law in Oklahoma."
As price transparency becomes the new normal, state medical associations could become allies in healthcare price transparency in other states. This means legislators will need to seek out supportive medical professionals and healthcare associations to make them early partners in the legislative process.