Bipartisan Duo Channels Baseball With Their Proposal To Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills
Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) will co-sponsor a measure that would set up an independent-arbitrator system to make a ruling if hospitals and insurers can't work out who picks up the extra costs. "It's called baseball-style arbitration. It's been piloted and used well in New York," said Hassan. The bill is just one of several expected over the next few weeks that deal with surprise medical bills, an issue that got a recent boost from President Donald Trump.
Dem, GOP Senators Say They Have A Fix For Surprise Medical Bills
Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have joined forces to propose a law they say will help fix a problem experienced by at least 40 percent of Americans — surprise medical bills. Surprise medical bills are frequently the result of patients receiving treatment from a health care provider that they didn't know was not covered by their health insurance. In a bill they will introduce to the Senate Thursday, co-sponsors Democrat Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Republican Bill Cassidy of Louisiana want to make health care providers negotiate these out-of-network charges with the insurance companies before billing the patient. (Bomin and Gosk, 5/15)
Work On Surprise Medical Bills Goes Into Overdrive
Days after President Trump called for action last week, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) on Tuesday released a draft bill to tackle the problem, a sign of momentum on the issue. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the upper chamber, led by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), plan to release their own legislation this week. (Sullivan, 5/15)
Bipartisan Senators To Offer Another Surprise Medical Bill Plan
The measure comes from lawmakers including Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., who last year offered different ways of stopping patients with insurance from getting bills for out-of-network medical care received during emergencies or from a provider they did not realize was out-of-network. “We have worked for almost a year with patient groups, doctors, insurers and hospitals to refine this proposal,” Cassidy said in a statement. “This is a bipartisan solution ensuring patients are protected and don’t receive surprise bills that are uncapped by anything but a sense of shame.” (McIntire, 5/16)
More coverage: Check out KHN's special series on surprisingly high medical bills.
In other news on health care costs —
The Wall Street Journal:
White House Wants Patients To Know Health-Care Prices Up Front
The Trump administration has been working behind the scenes for months on a strategy to force greater price disclosure across much of the $3.5 trillion health-care industry. The push relies on existing administrative tools, according to people familiar with the discussions. Those include Labor Department powers under the law that sets minimum standards for private-industry health plans and current hospital-payment rules under Medicare. (Armour, 5/15)
Kansas City Star:
Discount Medical Shopping Site Launches In Kansas City
A new website launching first in Kansas City aims to help consumers buy medical care the same way they might buy flights and hotel rooms: online, with upfront pricing. And, like some of the deals advertised on travel sites, some of the prices can be steeply discounted, like $29 for a teeth cleaning with X-rays, or $79 for a 60-minute MRI. (Marso, 5/15)