Viewpoint: Consumers not persuaded by hospital price transparency excuses

In a recent article, hospital leaders said that CMS' price transparency rules puts them at a competitive disadvantage — a justification several readers argued is not persuasive in a Jan. 11 Wall Street Journal opinion piece. 

As of December, CMS issued noncompliance notices to about 335 hospitals and asked 98 hospitals to submit plans for how and when they would comply with the federal rules. The rules, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2021, require hospitals to post prices negotiated with private insurers.

Hospital leaders cited several reasons for not complying with the rule in a Dec. 31 Journal article, including that posting negotiated rates would place them at a competitive disadvantage. 

Katy Delay of La Quinta, Calif., argues that using competition as justification for defying the mandate does not hold up. 

"Imagine if supermarket chains didn't post the prices of apples and oranges because they claimed it would be bad for business," Ms. Delay wrote in the opinion piece. 

Another reader, Kitty Nardi, RN, a registered nurse in Havertown, Pa., argued that as long as CMS lets hospitals dictate how they will disclose prices to patients, little will change.

"If we want to rein in the cost of healthcare, hospital systems and insurance companies must be transparent and accountable," she wrote.

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