May 12, 2020 - Health

Trump administration doubles down on hospital price transparency

An empty street near a brown NewYork-Presbyterian hospital complex.

Hospitals are fighting regulations that would force them to disclose negotiated prices. Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

The Trump administration unveiled a new proposal Monday, in which privately negotiated prices between hospitals and private health insurers would inform how Medicare pays for future health care services.

Yes, but: Hospitals are suing over the original price transparency regulation, so this proposal would get thrown in the trash if hospitals win in court.

Details: Last year, Medicare finalized a rule that required all hospitals to publicize the prices they negotiated with insurance companies by 2021. 

  • Hospitals immediately sued, saying the rule was unconstitutional and federal overreach. They just asked a federal judge to throw out the rule.
  • However, Medicare is still moving forward with this new proposal, which builds on last year's rule and would require hospitals to list the median commercial prices on federal reports.
  • By 2024, Medicare would then use those prices to "develop market-based" payments.

The bottom line: This entire proposal is a long way from happening, and more importantly hinges on whether the courts believe the federal government has the authority to require hospitals to publish all of their prices.

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