The U.S. Health and Human Services Department published two regulations last year requiring hospitals and insurers to make their prices public. The industry has challenged the hospital rule in court, arguing it’s a violation of the First Amendment, and successfully delayed its implementation.
The White House believes writing the requirement into law would end the court battle, according to people familiar with the matter.
While treating thousands of infected Americans, hospitals have had to cancel many profitable elective procedures. They’ve also seen many of their patients lose better-paying private health insurance coverage as the outbreak put millions of Americans out of work.
Trump re-tweeted an advocacy group for price transparency on Thursday, after the organization, took to Twitter to thank the president for his “BOLD leadership during the #Covid19 crisis.”
One official said the White House would be interested in transparency legislation if there’s another stimulus package.
The House on Friday night passed a $3 trillion bill that Republicans have criticized as an assemblage of Democratic wish-list items with no chance of becoming law.
Trump said Friday he holds “all the cards” in the negotiations, though he seeks measures such as a payroll tax cut in addition to a provision on hospital price transparency.
White House spokesman Judd Deere added in a statement 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.”
If he’s successful, the policy could dramatically change billing in health care and the way the hospital industry conducts transactions. Both hospitals and insurers say revealing negotiated prices they say are proprietary could have the unintended effect of raising costs for consumers.
Interest groups including the American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans are opposed to the price transparency effort.
(Updates with House passing stimulus bill, in eighth paragraph.)
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joshua Gallu, John Harney
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.