Independent Women’s Law Center Joins Patient Advocacy Groups on Brief Supporting Price Transparency
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Independent Women’s Law Center joined PatientRightsAdvocate.org, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Association of Mature American Citizens on Thursday in filing an amicus brief in support of healthcare price transparency.
Three hospitals and four healthcare industry groups are seeking to block a federal rule that will make healthcare costs more transparent.
At the heart of American Hospital Association v. Azar is a disagreement over whether the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) overstepped its authority when it issued a regulation last November compelling hospitals and other health providers to disclose their cash and negotiated contract prices to patients in a clear, easy-to-access format.
The AHA and a consortium of other hospital groups filed suit against HHS in December 2019 to stop the price transparency rule.
The hospital lobby maintains that HHS exceeded its statutory authority under the Administrative Procedure Act and violated the First Amendment by mandating speech in a manner that fails to directly advance a substantial government interest.
In their brief, amici argue that HHS’s commonsense rule falls comfortably within statutory and constitutional limits and rebut AHA claims that forcing disclosure violates the First Amendment rights of hospitals. As amici note, hospitals and insurance companies routinely disclose prices in their explanation of benefits statements. Their rates are not secret, just revealed after it’s too late for patients to choose more cost-effective care.
According to a Harvard-Harris poll, a bipartisan 88% of Americans support government mandates that require hospitals and insurance companies to disclose prices.
Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, said, “Put simply: knowledge is power. Women want constructive, market-based alternatives that put consumers in control. This transparency rule will ensure that patients know the price of what they are buying upfront and will allow them to make better choices about their care.”
Erin M. Hawley, senior legal fellow at Independent Women’s Law Center, added, “Transparency is extremely important for the nearly 50% of American patients with high deductible plans. If prices were available, many patients would comparison shop until their deductible is met. And research shows that such comparison shopping would likely have a market-wide price-lowering effect.”
Cynthia A. Fisher, founder and chairman of PatientRightsAdvocate.org, which spearheaded the effort to support the rule, added, “Rather than spending millions of dollars to block patient access to price information, the hospital lobby should use those resources to create easy-to-access pricing databases to comply with the rule.”
If the Court sides with the amici and grants HHS’s motion for summary judgment, the case will be dismissed and the rule will stand.
Read the full brief HERE.
Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.
Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and respect for the American constitutional order.