Hospitals Act Against Trump Administration Price Disclosure Rule

A coalition of hospital industry groups is taking legal action against the Trump administration’s new health care price disclosure rule.

The rule would require hospitals to disclose to consumers the confidential rates they negotiate with insurers for all services. This includes care and supplies provided by doctors working for the facility.

Tom Nickels, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, says that the rule violates hospitals’ First Amendment rights. Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, said that while companies want their employees to know the real cost of their health care, he is concerned that disclosing all rates may potentially push them higher. Health economist and associate professor at Yale University Zack Cooper said that it’s likely the wide range of prices could shrink as competitors match their rivals’ negotiations, while the mean price may go up.

Meanwhile, hospitals are concerned about the costs to implement this regulation, as well as its potential to push rates down, putting financially vulnerable hospitals (such as those in rural areas) at risk.

The administration argues that the greater transparency will bring down costs, allowing patients to shop around for care. The potential effects of this rule are unclear, with industry experts offering mixed predictions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2019.