Trump Administration Shoots at Hospitals Over Cost: Hospitals Shoot Back

The Trump administration recently required hospitals to post their list prices for a number of services, but everyone in the U.S. knows this information is useless.  The only people who are charged list price are those without insurance, who typically don’t pay or pay just a fraction of that number.

The useful information is the price that hospitals negotiate with insurance companies, which is where the administration just struck a hospital nerve.

The administration issued a new rule requiring hospitals to publish the prices they negotiated with insurance companies for a number of procedures, hoping the information will allow patients to compare costs and drive down medical expenses.

In an opinion piece timed to go to print when the regulation was issued, Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, wrote:

“The decades-long norm of price obscurity is just fine for those who get to set the prices with little accountability and reap the profits, but that stale and broken status quo is bleeding patients dry.  The price transparency delivered by these rules will put downward pressure on prices and restore patients to their rightful place at the center of American health care.”

The move has the hospital industry up in arms.  Many joined together and sued the administration, claiming the regulation infringes on their first amendment rights and also puts a huge burden on them to identify and publish the information.

In part, the lawsuit read:

“America’s hospitals and health systems remain committed to providing patients with the information they need to make informed health care decisions.”

The new rule “will generate confusion about patients’ financial obligations, not quell it.”

Something about daylight being the best disinfectant comes to mind.

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Comments (7)

  1. Charles King

    When I had my hip replaced I stayed in the hospital a day and a night. The bill presented to Medicare included $32,000 for “hospital supplies.” I reported this to Medicare with a copy to the hospital claiming fraud. When finally adjudicated the entire bill including the operation was $15,000. I suggest this type of fraud is rampant and not reported as it should be. And, we wonder why Medicare/Medicaid funding is in trouble. Medicare recipients must be proactive and report all questionable charges to the proper authorities. Failure to do so contributes to further excesses by the hospitals.

  2. R Calkins

    My mother passed away in June of this year. For the last three months, she was placed in a rehab hospital. She was on Medicare and the dollar amount of the bills we got shocked us. To make matters really untenable they were impossible to understand and we had no way of being absolutely sure she was getting what they were charging the insurance company for. If we were to judge by the condition of the hospital and what we had to constantly complain about, we are sure that they were overcharging and billing for medications and services that she did not receive. If I go out to eat at a restaurant, it had better have the prices posted on the menu, or I have the right to leave. It should be the same for hospitals. As it is now they are holding us hostage and not giving us any ammunition to fight back against it.

  3. Thomas Cunningham

    Isn’t Trump getting his cut from the medical organizations? You want state of the art medical facilities and medical personnel who have advanced education and training that require significant investment by the individual and medical organizations. Trump’s concerns are somewhat politically self serving. His recent visit to Walter Reed didn’t come out of his pocket and future expenses will be defrayed as well until he dies. Another Trump attempt to appear legitimate. Problem is he is the most corrupt, inept inhabitant of the W.H. in our history.

    • dane

      No your thinking of Hillary and Bill, Ovomit pigski and the rest of the liberal dems!!!

  4. Ted Quirk

    They can post prices in Canada – so its not that hard EH!!

  5. Adrian Vance

    The bill should have been for $150, and even then outrageous. I have had such bills, documented what they should be, sent a copy to my local DA and never heard a word back!

  6. Raconteur

    “Many joined together and sued the administration, claiming the regulation infringes on their first amendment rights and also puts a huge burden on them to identify and publish the information.”
    So, are they claiming they don’t normally record and publish this information to their managers? Are they claiming expenditures and funds taken in are not meticulously recorded (as per law)? A huge burden to publish what it coats to perform service XYZ?
    Bugger off.

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