White House wins ruling on health care price disclosure

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration won a court ruling on Tuesday upholding its plan to require insurers and hospitals to disclose the actual prices for common tests and procedures in a bid to promote competition and push down costs.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called the decision in federal court in Washington, DC, “a resounding victory” for President Donald Trump’s efforts to open up the convoluted world of healthcare pricing so patients and families can make better-informed decisions about their care.

“This may very well be bigger than healthcare itself,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, on the ruling. “Congratulations America!”

But the American Hospital Association, which sued to block the Trump administration regulation and was on the losing side, announced it would appeal. Industry argues that forcing the disclosure of prices negotiated between hospitals and insurers amounts to coercion.

That means the decision by US District Judge Carl J Nichols may not be the final word.

“American patients deserve to be in control of their healthcare,” Azar said in a statement. “Especially when patients are seeking needed care during a public health emergency, it is more important than ever that they have ready access to the actual prices of healthcare services.”