The estimated costs to preparethe required data in compliance with the rule total between $38.7to $39.4 million. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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In their quest to preserve the rates they negotiate withinsurance companies, hospitals have banded together to stop theTrump administration's price transparency rule.

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According to The Hill, the American Hospital Association andother hospital groups have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. DistrictCourt in Washington that claims the Centers for Medicare andMedicaid Services rule violates the First Amendment by provokingcompelled speech and goes beyond the intended meaning of "standardcharges" transparency in the Affordable Care Act.

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Related: CMS may lack authority to compel hospitals to tellnegotiated prices

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The suit also asks for an expedited decision, to spare hospitalsthe burden of having to sift through their complex mess of datashould the rule end up being found unconstitutional.

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It will be pricey for hospitals to comply, since the estimatedcosts to prepare the required data in compliance with the ruletotal between $38.7 to $39.4 million. According to thesuit, "[t]he burden of compliance with the rule is enormous, andway out of line with any projected benefits associated with therule."

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In addition to decrying the onerousness of compliance, hospitalssay that the end effect of the rule would mean that competitorswould jack up their own prices to the point that consumers wouldn'tseek care at all.

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The suit also challenges the Department of Health and HumanServices' authority for enforcement. "Instead of giving patientsrelevant information about costs, this rule will lead to widespreadconfusion and even more consolidation in the commercial healthinsurance industry," Rick Pollack, president and CEO of AHA, saidin an AHA release. "We stand ready to work with CMS and otherstakeholders to advance real solutions for patients."

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HHS, naturally, has a different take on thematter. Says HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley,"Hospitals should be ashamed that they aren't willing to provideAmerican patients the cost of a service before they purchase it.President Trump and Secretary Azar are committed to providingpatients the information they need to make their own informedhealth care decisions and will continue to fight for transparencyin America's health care system."

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Other groups that have signed on to the lawsuit include theAssociation of American Medical Colleges, the Children's HospitalAssociation and the Federation of American Hospitals.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.