Healthcare Price Transparency in a Privately Insured United States: Is Patient Ignorance Bliss?

(Source) It is no secret that the United States is the only industrialized nation without a single-payer universal healthcare program. Among the many issues created by the high cost of healthcare, both parties agree that unexpected, and often extremely expensive, medical bills present a serious threat to financial security in a nation where around two-thirds of individuals declare bankruptcy due to an inability to afford medical care. Despite both parties agreeing that surprise medical bills are a pressing issue, there is little agreement concerning what an appropriate solution might look like. On June 24, 2019, the Trump administration issued an executive order requiring hospitals to make negotiated pricing information accessible to the public. In November 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services, in complying with the order, created a “final rule” requiring all hospitals in the nation to publish the prices of certain procedures on their websites. The American Hospital Administration (“AHA”) and several other hospital networks subsequently filed a lawsuit challenging the administration’s authority to impose such a requirement. The AHA asserted that the rules imposed by this executive order would require more administrative positions to organize and deliver the requested pricing data, an increased cost that ultimately [read more]

Stigmatized Silence: The exclusion of HIV and AIDS Sufferers from the “Obamacare” Legal Landscape by Ashley Southerland

I.             INTRODUCTION For some time now, American citizens infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)[1] have held a tenuous place amidst the substantively ambiguous concentric circles of the healthcare system, insurance regimes, and the law.  Literally and legally, these individuals—despite being engulfed in an epidemiological and often-losing battle for their lives—only have shaky ground, at best, upon which to demand per se protections under the law throughout the various stages of their disease.[2] Unfortunately for them, the economic rationales for health status-based insurance discrimination and the legislative silence on protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act have resulted in a legal “donut hole” that has left many asymptomatic[3] HIV and AIDS sufferers lost in the legal fray, further stigmatized and uninsured with mounting medical costs and no foreseeable economic relief. However, now that the Obama Administration has instituted major health care reform, both the health care system and the insurance coverage regime will receive a significant overhaul.  This Blog posits that, while “Obamacare” reform is no doubt one of the most significant pieces of social legislation of this era, the two laws that define it—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act[4] (PPACA) and the [read more]

Necessary, but Not a Necessary Evil: Reforming Mandatory Auto Insurance Laws by Miles N. Clark

I. Introduction In March 2009, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan testified before Congress about the growing danger of a unique low-income housing crisis.  He stated that suburban sprawl has decentralized both affordable housing and job opportunities, which has rendered low-income families particularly susceptible to energy cost spikes.  Today, low-income suburban families spend nearly one third of their income on transportation.[ii] As the price of private transportation continues to soar, the rate of gentrification of urban areas has increased.  This, in turn, leads to rises in rents and property taxes in urban areas, which forces low-income residents to migrate to low-cost areas.  And for the first time, the destination of the underclass is the former haven of the old establishment: the suburbs, which during the past twenty years have been overbuilt and are now drastically undervalued.[iii] However, low-income families are particularly ill-suited to suburban life.  Its low densities and “clustered” land use patterns make public transportation uneconomical,[iv] and compel transportation by automobile.[v] Faced with unprecedented demand for private transportation among indigent drivers, states should seek to decrease the derivative costs of car ownership by providing government-run automobile insurance schemes for minimum coverage.  As three Canadian provinces demonstrate, such schemes [read more]