Cynthia Fisher: Advocating for Healthcare Price Transparency
Cynthia Fisher is a fierce advocate for healthcare price transparency. She is the founder and chairman of PatientsRightsAdvocate.org, a non-profit organization championing comprehensive healthcare price transparency nationwide. Their mission is to empower patients and healthcare consumers by making real prices accessible before services are performed. Cynthia sees price transparency as a vital step toward creating a functional, competitive market and lowering healthcare costs. PatientsRightsAdvocate.org’s methods include advocacy, testimony, media, legal research, and grassroots campaigns.
Before she was recognized as a steadfast advocate for patients’ rights, Cynthia was an entrepreneur. After working with healthcare clients at IBM, Cynthia founded the pioneering cord blood stem cell banking company, ViaCord, Inc. She subsequently co-founded the cellular medicines company, ViaCell, Inc. in 2000. Cynthia went on to create many things, including founding FitMoney.org, which provides schools and teachers curriculum for K-12 financial literacy. She also created an investment firm called WaterRev, which supports technologies to enable sustainable water use practices.
Over the course of her career, Cynthia never lost interest in healthcare and analytics. After hearing of individuals’ struggles with medical bills, she got involved in healthcare price and transparency efforts. Cynthia started telling their stories to illustrate the burden of unexpectedly high medical bills on American families. She then embarked on a years-long crusade to share these videos and stories with policymakers to empower patients with transparent pricing.
Cynthia was inspired to create PatientsRightsAdvocate.org when she realized high healthcare prices were affecting Americans, even those with health insurance. She said, “These are hardworking Americans with coverage. These are not the uninsured and the destitute, but now they’re destitute because of our broken healthcare system. This is so wrong on so many levels. We are the payers of healthcare. It’s our wages. It’s our paychecks that pay for healthcare, and we have no voice in Washington. So, I decided to found PatientRightsAdvocate.org to represent the voice of the consumer.”
Healthcare Price Transparency
Cynthia has been instrumental in pushing recent healthcare price transparency legislation forward. In 2019, a final rule requiring hospitals to publish their negotiated prices by payer was released, as well as a proposed rule requiring health plans to do the same.
Cynthia lobbied Congress for years on the reciprocal issues of health price transparency and surprise bills before pitching the idea to President Trump in 2018. She asserts true healthcare price transparency will unleash a pro-consumer market where prices, quality, outcomes, and standards of care are known upfront. Cynthia believes what The Alliance has always believed, that price-empowered consumers will cause providers to compete by lowering prices, improving quality, and applying free market, value-based decision-making to healthcare.
When patients know the price of their care before services are performed, they can make informed decisions about their healthcare. For shoppable care, patients can find and choose providers who offer good care at lower prices.
Employer Involvement in Price Transparency
As one of the main purchasers of healthcare, Cynthia believes employers need to make their voices heard in health policy. Employers should support initiatives that enable price transparency and free-market healthcare. Writing to legislators, participating in public forums, and asking policymakers to support legislation that benefits employers, their employees, and families are all options to advocate for legislation that enhances access to affordable healthcare.
Through partnerships with health advocacy groups, like Advancing Free Market Healthcare, employers can leverage their collective voice to influence policy decisions that impact health benefits, insurance coverage, and healthcare costs. By taking an active role in shaping health policy, employers contribute to the health, well-being, and productivity of their employees and their families.
If you were unable to see the Healthcare Transformation Award ceremony at the 2023 Fall Symposium and Annual Meeting or would like to view it again, you can watch it here.