Government Responds to Hospital Group Letter on the Executive Order (Oct. 1, 2020)

Re: Disclosure of Negotiated Charges

                                                                                   U.S. Department of Justice
                                                                                   Civil Division, Appellate Staff
                                                                                   950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Rm. 7243
                                                                                   Washington, DC 20530
                                                                                   Tel: (202) 353-8189

                                        October 1, 2020


Mark Langer
Clerk of Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
333 Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

RE: American Hospital Association, et al. v. Azar, No. 20-5193 (argument scheduled October 15, 2020)

Dear Mr. Langer:

The Executive Order cited in plaintiffs’ 28(j) letter does not support plaintiffs.

That Executive Order discusses the Rule at issue here in the course of describing several efforts the Executive Branch has undertaken with respect to health care. In describing the Rule, the Executive Order states that, “[b]eginning January 1, 2021, hospitals will be required to publish their real price for every service, and publicly display in a consumer-friendly, easy-to-understand format the prices of at least 300” shoppable services. See Exec. Order 4.

The Executive Order does not advance plaintiffs’ arguments. The Executive Order’s reference to “real price[s]” merely reflects that, under HHS’s Rule, hospitals must disclose their payer-specific negotiated charges and standard cash discount rates, not simply their chargemaster rates. It does not mean that the Rule requires hospitals to disclose any price they “agree to accept in ‘particular circumstances,’” Pls. Letter 2, an interpretation of “standard charges” the Rule expressly disclaims, Gov’t Br. 20-21, 29-30. Similarly, the Executive Order’s reference to the “public display[]” of standard charges in a consumer-friendly manner does not support plaintiffs’ argument that the Rule requires the disclosure of more than one “list.” View entire document under key resources below. 

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