Gavel on flag Senate Republicanscalled the PRICE Transparency Act a measure to "empower patientsand lower health care costs." (Photo: Shutterstock)

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GOP lawmakers have introduced legislation that simultaneouslyrequires hospitals and insurers to reveal their lowest prices whilenegating any legal challenges from those groups.

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Senate Republicans called the PRICE Transparency Act, whichseeks to codify the Trump Administration's hospital and insurancepolicies, a measure to "empower patients and lower health carecosts."

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The bill was introduced by Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), JoniErnst (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Kennedy(R-LA) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA). The enactment of the legislationwould be considered a win for employers who shop for health careplans.

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Related: Next stimulus bill could force hospitals' hand onprice transparency

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"As a Main Street Entrepreneur who provided quality healthcareto my employees, this legislation will give Americans the chance tosee the true costs of their healthcare visits, which will increasecompetition and lower health care costs," Braun said in a statementintroducing the bill. "President Trump has been the leader onhealthcare reform and this legislation takes his executive ordersand makes it the law of the land, which is a win for allAmericans."

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Critics of the legislation, such as the American HospitalAssociation, say it would place a burden on already beleagueredhealthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 crisis. The AHA andother healthcare groups recently lost a court challenge seeking tostop the rule and have filed an appeal.

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In a letter to the Health and Human ServicesSecretary Alex Azar, the hospital associations from 34 states urgedthe federal government to delay the implementation of thelegislation.

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"While we disagree with the agency on the value of publicdisclosure of negotiated rate information (as opposed toestimated out-of-pocket costs), we hope that you will agree thatadvancing this policy is not essential at this moment," theassociations wrote. "Even attempting to comply with the rule willrequire a significant diversion of financial resources and stafftime that hospitals and health systems cannot afford to spare asthey prepare to or care for patients with COVID-19."

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They continued, "Asking information technology and clinical caredepartments to refocus their efforts at this juncture is, at best,unwise, as the past week has demonstrated that significant newoutbreaks of the virus can occur in locations that were previouslyunaffected or had very few cases."

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P.J. D'Annunzio

Reporter at the Legal Intelligencer covering public corruption, federal courts, and breaking news.