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Blase On Senator Bill Frist’s Podcast

President at Paragon Health Institute
Brian Blase, Ph.D., is the President of Paragon Health Institute. Brian was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC) from 2017-2019, where he coordinated the development and execution of numerous health policies and advised the President, NEC director, and senior officials. After leaving the White House, Brian founded Blase Policy Strategies and serves as its CEO.

I was honored to have an unexpected opportunity in April when I briefly left sunny Florida to attend a health policy conference in Tennessee. At the conference, I ran into Senator Bill Frist, who asked me to be on his podcast. Of course, I said yes and expected us to schedule a time. Instead, the Senator had us get started right away.
We had a wide-ranging discussion, touching on topics such as the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act, price transparency, and the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in health care. You can find the full podcast here, and below I’ve included a few highlights.

4:30 — Sen. Frist asked, “What provoked the interest in price transparency?” I explained that it was born out of the failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration thought that there needed to be a consumer-directed policy solution for health care, and price transparency “hit us right in the face” because it was something we could take action on through administrative rulemaking.

7:37 – Sen. Frist asked if there was resistance to taking on the issue of price transparency. In a nutshell, yes—but we overcame that hesitancy. Hospital prices have risen three times faster than inflation over the last twenty years. There was some concern that requiring price transparency might enable hospitals to collude and further raise prices. But after discussing the matter with many other economists, the overwhelming consensus was that transparency would instead put downward pressure on prices and help consumers and employers choose higher value providers. 

13:04 — Sen. Frist gave me a great opportunity to discuss Paragon Health Institute’s purpose and plans.  As you know, we want to critically evaluate what the government is doing as well as develop policies that will empower patients, increase the supply of health care, and encourage innovation – which is how we will improve health at lower costs.  

Again, I am incredibly grateful to Senator Frist for giving me a chance to share my thoughts and experiences. I hope you enjoy it and find it informative.

All the best,
Brian Blase
Paragon Health Institute

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