Trump Pushes Congress To Demand Hospital Pricing Transparency As Part Of Coronavirus Relief

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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The Trump administration has been pushing for transparency in hospital pricing for months — and the next coronavirus relief package may help them get it.

According to a report from Bloomberg News, the White House has been pressuring Congress to add a very specific provision to the next coronavirus relief bill — one that would require hospitals and insurance companies to publicly share the prices being negotiated for medical services. (RELATED: Trump Floats Cutting Off ‘Whole Relationship’ With China As Coronavirus Punishment)

The goal, according to that report, is to cut the legs out from under an ongoing legal battle that began in early 2019 when the U.S. Health and Human Services Department published regulations requiring hospitals and insurers to make their pricing public.

President Donald Trump signed off on an executive order demanding the same in June of last year.

But within months, hospital groups had fought back against the regulations requiring them to publish pricing online, arguing that it was a violation of the First Amendment to reveal “confidential information on individually negotiated contract terms with all third-party payers, including private commercial health insurers.”

“The rule … does not provide the information patients need. Mandating the public disclosure of negotiated charges would create confusion about patients’ out-of-pocket costs, not prevent it,” the lawsuit stated.

The Trump administration responded to the lawsuit by saying, “Hospitals should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost … before they purchase it.”

According to the Bloomberg report, the administration is confident that codifying those regulations into law via the next relief package would settle the issue once and for all.

White House spokesman Judd Deere stated Friday, “President Trump has taken the most aggressive action on health care price transparency in history and would welcome any efforts by Congress to complement and reinforce our actions to put real prices in the hands of consumers.”

In addition to price transparency, the White House has also pushed for the next relief package to include a payroll tax cut.