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Federal judge upholds health care price transparency law

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday upheld a policy requiring hospitals and health insurers to publish their negotiated prices for health services. The policy is part of a new Trump administration push for transparency in healthcare but originates from mandates within the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The suit is between the American Hospital Association, which argues that the administration does not have the requisite legal authority to mandate the publication of negotiated prices, and Alex Azar II, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, on behalf of the Trump administration.

The ACA “requires each hospital operating within the United States to establish and make public ‘a list of the hospital’s standard charges for items and services provided by the hospital.’” In November “the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued a final rule defining ‘standard charges,’ delineating hospitals’ publication requirements, and laying out an enforcement scheme.” The hospital association contended that the final rule exceeded the CMS’s statutory authority, violated the First Amendment, and was “arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act.”

On Tuesday, presiding Judge Carl Nichols, who […]

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