Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Comments on the Trump administration's proposed rule requiring the disclosure of negotiated hospital prices reveal the ongoing battle between the hospital industry and patient advocates, Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: The industry is fiercely protective of negotiated rates and adamantly opposes the administration's proposal.

  • Hospitals say it creates an unrealistic burden and unfairly leaves insurers alone, per WSJ.
  • Patient advocates say price transparency gives patients more power when selecting care and would counteract industry price gouging.
  • Some experts and advocates for the proposal say hospitals' opposition alone suggests that the measure would successfully drive down prices for patients — which would cut into providers' profits.

Hospitals also argued in their comments that the rule would allow insurers to extract the same discounts obtained by their competitors, while giving less expensive hospitals leverage to demand higher rates.

  • Some critics asked that the rule be delayed for rural hospitals, as they don't have the resources to comply.
  • Others argued that patients care more about what they'll pay out of pocket than the negotiated price of care.

My thought bubble: These comments were predictable, but where the administration lands with the rule isn't. It's difficult to begin with to take on the hospital industry, but that's compounded by all the uncertainly regarding the proposal's effect.

Go deeper: Washington's favorite health policy isn't a silver bullet

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.