US Judge Upholds Challenge To Rule Requiring Hospitals To Post Prices

Healthcare is one facility that the state provides to the citizens, and the more accessible the service is, the better the reach of the healthcare system becomes in a country. When it comes to offering medical care to all, the number of people covered under the facilities becomes integral to its desired level of successful implementation. As far as the USA’s healthcare system is concerned, it aims at providing the best facilities to most people. But, the healthcare prices often keep plenty of people away from availing of its benefits.

Keeping the same in mind, in 2019, the government declared a rule that instructed the hospitals and other healthcare institutions to publish a list of prices for all the available services individually. This step was taken to keep the hidden charges often applied to the final bill at bay. These additional components charged as hidden costs were also the reason many could not afford healthcare facilities in the USA. Medical care is a fundamental right of every citizen, and state-provided care must reach even the grass-root level evenly.

This is why the government ruled for such a provision. However, the hospitals and other medical institutions seemed not very happy with the provision as for many of them, this provision meant a direct slash down of the profit margins. Hence, some of them challenged the rule and expected the court to overrule the government’s provision concerning the publication of all the costs. Moreover, the American Hospital Association argued that this rule is contrary to the intents of the Affordable Care Act and First Amendment rights. There is no doubt that the quality of public health is the primary determinant of the nation’s growth, and the same can be critical in deciding the nation’s place in the world economy in the long run.

Hence, to ensure the same, it has to be guaranteed that the benefits reach even the bottom-most layer of the society. And it is the prices that often worked as the obstacle between the facilities and the target people. Hence, the government wanted transparency regarding the prices. Especially when a country was faced with a challenge as fierce as the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare was the only way out for its citizens, and it must be made available for all.

Therefore, the government felt the necessity to bridge the medical care services and the people for whom the services were meant. This rule was not only meant to reduce the prices charged for various services and to bring clarity regarding the service prices but also to make sure that most people get covered by the available health facilities with the devastating pandemic going on. If this step of the government can be seen in the light of the urgency of the situation, it was surely a laudable one. However, the challenge against the rule received a mixed reaction and awaited a verdict until, in June 2020, the court opined in favor of the rule set by the government.


This verdict of the US judge can be regarded as revolutionary for the medical care sector. While the personal interest of profit maximization would surely get jeopardized for some of the private owners of hospitals and clinics, the majority of people seeking immediate medical attention would get benefitted from this move.  The hidden charges earlier caused plenty of billing misappropriation that denied complete insurance coverage to many patients. But with a clearly mentioned and published price for every service, no such unscrupulous practice would have any space to flourish.

Also, people who found the health facilities out of their reach would now be able to enjoy its benefits. Hence, the overall health sector benefits would get routed across a larger share of the mass, making the health care sector a wider phenomenon for the nation. Especially diagnostic methods like imaging, scanning, MRIs did not have a specific charge, and the prices varied from one clinic to another.

With this rule applied, the clinics will also try to keep the prices within a range in order to not to lose their share of patients to another neighboring low price facility. Therefore, experts think that this move of the US court would ultimately be of benefit to the common people. Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia gave this laudable decision that reestablished the people’s faith in the judiciary.

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