May 7 was the first step in the legal fight between the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), regarding the Price Transparency rule released last year. With the rule set to go into effect January 1,2021, AHA argued in the first hearing that the disclosure of negotiated rates will confuse patients, thwart competition, and overwhelm hospitals. U.S District Court Judge Carl Nichols appeared sympathetic to Trump’s administrations rule but did raise questions about the burden which would be placed on hospitals to comply. The Judge’s repeated questions of the difference between hospitals posted price and what patients pay, indicates his intention for hospitals to be more transparent. Although he did not suggest how he would rule, he said he would try to comply with requests from hospitals and the Trump administration. The Judge also did not give a timeline for an expected ruling.
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