On Wednesday, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) released a report revealing a disturbing lack of transparency from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding their enforcement of hospital price transparency rules. The report details how the Biden administration is enabling hospitals to violate price transparency requirements, harming patients and their families.
Since 2021, federal law has required hospitals to publish the cost of medical services to give consumers full pricing information. This transparency allows consumers to compare prices, which promotes competition and drives down costs for patients. CMS is the federal agency charged with enforcing the transparency rule.
“CMS has failed to enforce the hospital price transparency rule. Now, they’ve chosen to withhold the records and information that would reveal the full scope of their failure.” said Hayden Dublois, data and analytics director at FGA. “The incomplete records provided by CMS to FGA—and the records that haven’t been provided at all—impede our ability to conduct a thorough analysis and suggest that CMS is concealing untold records for unknown reasons.”
After CMS refused to comply with lawful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, FGA filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to compel disclosure. In December, a federal judge ordered CMS to produce all requested documents. To date, the records received from CMS contain heavy redactions, more than 34,000 withheld pages of records, and a concerning lack of transparency.
“True to form, the Biden administration has chosen to conceal their activities rather than comply with a court order and expose their performance (or lack thereof) to scrutiny,” said Stewart Whitson, legal director at FGA. “FGA prevailed in court, and a federal judge ordered CMS to produce all requested records. The Biden administration has defied that court order and withheld requested information, allowing hospitals to keep prices hidden. We are aggressively exploring all available legal options as we continue to fight for the transparency patients deserve.”