AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation joined an amicus brief supporting the Department of Justice’s motion for summary judgment in The American Hospital Association v. The Department of Health and Human Services.

The case centers around whether HHS overstepped its authority when it issued a regulation last Nov. that would compel hospitals and other health providers to disclose their cash and negotiated contract prices to patients in a clear, easy-to-access format. The regulation was set to go into effect Jan. 2021.

“In a free market, price is considered to be like the central nervous system,” said David Balat, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Healthcare initiative. “It responds with great immediacy to market forces and adjusts to fluctuations in supply and demand. Without price transparency, the healthcare delivery market has, in effect, had its central nervous system removed. Restoring transparency will help restore the heart of health care, which is the doctor and patient relationship.”

The brief dismisses the arguments of AHA by recognizing that the majority of American workers have high-deductible health plans and therefore negotiated prices are in fact their “out of pocket” costs. Regarding privacy concerns, hospitals and insurance companies routinely disclose prices in their explanation of benefits statements.

“The court is meant to promote public access to pricing information,” said Robert Henneke, General Counsel at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Fighting industry secrecy, this rule paves the way for free enterprise in healthcare, bringing it to the standards of every other sector of the economy.”

According to a Harvard-Harris pollprice transparency is a bipartisan issue supported by 88 percent of Americans.

PatientRightsAdvocate.org, Independent Women’s Law Center, Association for Mature American Citizens also signed on to the brief.

To read the amicus brief in full, please visit:

https://files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2020/02/14092607/PRA-amicus-brief.pdf