Trump touts court ruling upholding push to require hospitals disclose secret rates

President Trump late Tuesday celebrated a federal judge’s decision upholding an administration plan requiring hospitals and health insurers disclose rates that are normally hidden from patients.

“BIG VICTORY for patients. Federal court UPHOLDS hospital price transparency,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Patients deserve to know the price of care BEFORE they enter the hospital. Because of my action, they will. This may very well be bigger than healthcare itself.”

The planned policy from the Trump administration is part of a broader effort for more transparency in the health care industry.

However, the American Hospital Association (AHA) claimed in a lawsuit filed in December that the federal government didn’t have the authority to mandate the disclosure of negotiated prices. The organization alleged that the administration requirement was “unlawful.”

Judge Carl Nichols rebuffed its claims, writing in his decision that hospitals were “attacking transparency measures generally” intended to help consumers make informed decisions about the care they’re receiving.

“Hospitals may be affected by market changes and need to respond to a market where consumers are more empowered, but the possibility that the nature of their negotiations with insurers might change is too attenuated from the compelled disclosure to make the Rule unlawful,” Nichols, who was appointed by Trump to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2019, wrote.

AHA General Counsel Melinda Hatton said in a statement that the organization would appeal the decision and seek an expedited review.

“The proposal does nothing to help patients understand their out-of-pockets costs,” she said. “It also imposes significant burdens on hospitals at a time when resources are stretched thin and need to be devoted to patient care. Hospitals and health systems have consistently supported efforts to provide patients with information about the costs of their medical care. This is not the right way to achieve this important goal.”

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