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Court upholds healthcare price disclosure

by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 6/24/20, 04:46 pm

WASHINGTON—Demanding hospitals publish the costs of basic medical procedures in a user-friendly manner does not violate the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, a nominee of President Donald Trump, upheld a new federal requirement that hospitals and insurance companies must make public the negotiated prices of common healthcare services. The American Hospital Association, an industry trade group, plans to appeal the decision.

Why did hospitals resist? Melinda Hatton, attorney for the hospital association, argued requiring price disclosure imposes undue burdens on hospitals already stretched by the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) argued transparency would encourage competition between hospitals and help consumers make informed decisions. “American patients deserve to be in control of their healthcare,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

Dig deeper: Read Rachel Lynn Aldrich’s report in Compassion about how churches and private organizations are tackling the problem of medical debt.

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Kyle Ziemnick

Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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