President Donald Trump celebrated a “big victory” Tuesday evening after a federal judge ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s rule requiring hospitals to disclose prices negotiated with insurers.
“BIG VICTORY for patients – Federal court UPHOLDS hospital price transparency,” the Republican president tweeted.
“Patients deserve to know the price of care BEFORE they enter the hospital. Because of my action, they will. This may very well be bigger than healthcare itself. Congratulations America!”
BIG VICTORY for patients – Federal court UPHOLDS hospital price transparency. Patients deserve to know the price of care BEFORE they enter the hospital. Because of my action, they will. This may very well be bigger than healthcare itself. Congratulations America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2020
The Tuesday ruling from Trump-appointed Judge Carl Nichols with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was a summary judgment; it did not go to trial but it can be appealed, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Melinda Hatton, the American Hospital Association’s senior vice president, said the organization plans to appeal the decision.
“The proposal does nothing to help patients understand their out-of-pocket costs. It also imposes significant burdens on hospitals at a time when resources are stretched thin and need to be devoted to patient care,” she said in a statement.
“Hospitals and health systems have consistently supported efforts to provide patients with information about the costs of their medical care. This is not the right way to achieve this important goal.”
The rule was first proposed in July 2019 and requires hospitals to publicize the rates they negotiate with insurers for all services, including drugs, facility fees and doctor care.
The rule will take effect in January 2021 and hospitals that do not provide price transparency could be fined up to $300 a day.
“Especially when patients are seeking needed care during a public health emergency, it is more important than ever that they have ready access to the actual prices of health-care services,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
In an amicus brief filed by pro-free-market groups in support of the administration in February, Cynthia Fisher of PatientRightsAdvocate.org said the rule would “restore trust and accountability to the healthcare system.”
“Once empowered with price discovery, patients and employers will be able to shop for the best quality of care at the lowest possible price,” Fisher said.
“Consumers will then be in control through choice to reduce their costs of care and coverage.”
The amicus brief also cited a 2019 Harvard-Harris poll that revealed 88 percent of surveyed Americans were in favor of requiring healthcare providers to disclose pricing information.
Voters were also in favor of price transparency even if it temporarily raises prices, with 65 percent supporting it and 35 percent opposing it.
According to the administration, the new rule would cost hospitals an estimated $38.7 million to $39.4 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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