President and CEO
American Hospital Association
July 29, 2019
America’s hospitals and health systems are dedicated to ensuring patients have the information they need to make informed health care decisions, particularly knowing what their expected out-of-pocket costs will be. However, mandating the disclosure of negotiated rates between insurers and hospitals is the wrong approach. Instead, it could seriously limit the choices available to patients in the private market and fuel anticompetitive behavior among commercial health insurers in an already highly concentrated insurance industry. While we support transparency, today’s proposal misses the mark, exceeds the Administration’s legal authority and should be abandoned.
By continuing payment cuts for hospital outpatient clinic visits, CMS has not only undermined clear congressional intent, but has threatened to impede access to care, especially in rural and other vulnerable communities. These cuts clearly exceed the Administration’s legal authority, which is why the AHA has been working to overturn this rule through legal action and by working with the Congress.
This proposed rule’s continuation of cuts in payments for 340B drugs only exacerbates the strain placed on hospitals serving vulnerable communities. The AHA, along with other hospital associations and member hospitals, successfully challenged the previous cuts to the 340B program in court. Now that the court has ruled that those cuts are illegal and exceeded the Administration’s authority, we urge CMS to refrain from doing more damage to impacted hospitals with another year of illegal cuts. Instead, as a remedy, CMS should be offering a plan to promptly restore funds to those affected by the illegal cuts.