The nation’s hospital groups sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over a new federal rule that would require them to disclose the discounted prices they give insurers for all sorts of procedures.
The hospitals, including the American Hospital Association, argued in a lawsuit filed in United States District Court in Washington that the new rule “is unlawful, several times over.”
They argued that the administration exceeded its legal authority in issuing the rule last month as part of its efforts to make the health care system much more transparent to patients. The lawsuit contends the requirement to disclose their private negotiations with insurers violates their First Amendment rights.
The administration wanted the disclosure rule, which would go into effect in 2021, to allow patients to better shop for deals on a range of services, from MRIs to hip replacements.
“Hospitals should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost of a service before they purchase it,” said Caitlin Oakley, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services in an emailed statement. “President Trump and Secretary Azar are committed to providing patients the information they need to make their own informed health care decisions and will continue to fight for transparency in America’s health care system.”
While the administration is already requiring hospitals to post some of their list prices, the public outcry over surprise medical bills and high out-of-pocket costs led the administration to seek even more detail on rates. Patients have long complained that they are completely in the