WASHINGTON, D.C – Independent Women’s Law Center joined Patient Rights Advocate, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Association of Mature American Citizens on August 21 in filing an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in support of healthcare price transparency.
Three hospitals and four healthcare industry groups are seeking to block federal price transparency rules, which require hospitals and health insurers to disclose prices to patients in a clear, easy-to-access format.
The AHA and a consortium of other hospital groups filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in December 2019, claiming that HHS lacked authority to issue the rules and violated the First Amendment by mandating speech with respect to prices.
In June, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols rejected those arguments and upheld the regulations, but the hospital lobby appealed the decision.
In their brief supporting the rules, amici argue that HHS acted within its statutory and constitutional authority in enacting the measure. Amici note that price transparency rules are common in other industries and have never been found to violate the First Amendment. Here, 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.
Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, said, “A bipartisan majority of Americans support healthcare price transparency. Put simply: knowledge is power. 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.”
If the Court of Appeals sides with the amici and upholds Judge Nichols’s ruling, the case will be dismissed, and the price transparency requirement will stand.
Read the full brief HERE.
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