Health Groups Sue to Block Hospital Price Transparency Rules

A group of health care associations and providers has filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block Trump administration-backed guidance requiring hospitals to disclose their standard charges. The guidance was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and published as final regulations in the Federal Register on November 27, 2019.

Under this guidance, hospitals operating in the United States would be required to “establish, update, and make public a list of their standard charges for the items and services that they provide.” The guidance further states that this CMS action was “…necessary to promote price transparency in health care and public access to hospital standard charges,” and that the public will thereby “have the information necessary to make more informed decisions about their care.” The effective date is January 1, 2021.

Plaintiffs in the suit include the American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Federation of American Hospitals, National Association of Children’s Hospitals, and several hospital groups located in California, Missouri, and Nebraska.

The plaintiffs allege that the CMS final regulations would require disclosure of confidential information, violate the speech protections of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, would undermine competition and blunt innovation, and would financially “overwhelm many hospitals.” They further allege that the final regulations are arbitrary and capricious and “lack any rational basis.”