Trump Wades Into Turf War Between Hospitals, Insurers As He Calls For An End To Surprise Medical Billing
About one in seven patients wind up with surprise bills -- some of them sky-high -- and the issue is routinely ranked as an important one for voters. President Donald Trump on Thursday urged Congress to send him legislation to protect patients from those nasty surprises, while lawmakers promised they would deliver soon. But the question remains: who gets stuck with the costs?
The New York Times:
Trump Said He Wanted To Work With Democrats On Surprise Medical Bills. Then He Attacked Democrats.
President Trump said on Thursday that he was directing a bipartisan group of lawmakers to create legislation that would provide relief for people who were surprised by bills they receive from out-of-network health care providers after both emergency and scheduled medical visits. During a rambling 45-minute speech that veered into matters of foreign policy and his anger over the special counsel’s report, Mr. Trump pushed for a measure that he said would be bipartisan, even as House Democrats — some of whom the president also attacked by name — took up legislation to fortify a law he reviles, the Affordable Care Act. (Rogers, 5/9)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Backs Push To Limit Surprise Medical Bills
Under principles unveiled by Mr. Trump, patients receiving emergency services wouldn’t get separate, out-of-network bills. Billing emergency-room patients more than their in-network allowed amount would be banned. Payments would then be determined by negotiations between providers and insurers. About one in seven patients wind up with surprise bills despite getting care at in-network hospitals, according to a March analysis by Health Care Cost Institute, a research collaborative. (Armour, 5/9)
Trump Urges Congress To Take Action On Surprise Medical Bills
In instances of nonemergency, scheduled treatment, the White House wants patients to be informed ahead of time if any of the care will be out of network. They want to require a written estimate upfront of all out-of-pocket costs, along with a single bill from all providers. (Weixel, 5/9)
The Associated Press:
Trump Calls On Congress To End 'Surprise Medical Bills'
With polls showing that voters trust Democrats over Republicans on health care, Trump has been hitting pocket-book medical issues that resonate with the middle-class, like prescription drug costs. He was joined at a White House event by patients, one who got a $110,000 bill after a heart attack, and another who got a bill for $17,850 for a test her insurer would have paid $100 for. "So this must end," Trump said. "We're going to hold insurance companies and hospitals totally accountable." The president said he wants to get it done "quickly," and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said he hoped to deliver a bill in July. (Freking and Alonso-Zaldivar, 5/9)
The Washington Post:
Trump Pushes To End Surprise Medical Billing For Hospital Care
The president said that Democrats and Republicans alike should work quickly to stop “surprise” billing in the health-care industry. The unexpected bills are often high charges from doctors or facilities that are outside an insurer’s network, often unbeknown to patients. Trump said these practices are bankrupting patients through “health-care costs that are absolutely out of control. No family should be blindsided by outrageous medical bills.” (Goldstein, 5/9)
Surprise Medical Bills: Trump Says Congress Should Pass Law
Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told Trump during the news conference that he expects to send the president a bill in July. (Tozzi, 5/9)
Kaiser Health News:
Surprise! Fixing Out-Of-Network Bills Means Someone Must Pay
A bipartisan group of senators has been working to come up with a plan for the past several months. They said Thursday that they hope to have a bill to the president by July. But will bipartisanship be enough? Even political will might not overcome divisions within the health industry. (Rovner, 5/9)
Trump Calls For End To Surprise Out-Of-Network Medical Bills
“We are committed to working together on bipartisan legislation that protects patients and families from surprise medical bills and the crippling financial debt that comes with them,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and ranking member Greg Walden, R-Ore., said in a joint statement. “No family should be left in financial ruin through no fault of their own, which is why we have been working together on a bipartisan solution to protect patients that we hope to announce soon.” (McIntire, 5/9)
End Surprise Medical Bills With Doctor Contract Reform: Trump Administration
Trump also said another major announcement on healthcare transparency is coming in the next few weeks, although he did not offer details. (Luthi, 5/9)
White House Takes On Surprise Medical Bills
Many in that congressional hearing and today at the White House agreed that the legislative solution can't rely on patients to file complaints or negotiate their bills down or, for that matter, turn to the media to draw attention to their particular story. In other words, it should be up to insurers, doctors, hospitals and other providers to solve this issue, not up to patients. (5/9)
President Trump Wants To End Surprise Medical Bills
Half of Americans say shielding people from surprise medical bills should be a top priority for Congress, according to an April Kaiser Family Foundation poll. That ranks behind lowering drug costs and protecting those with preexisting conditions, but ahead of major changes to the nation's health care system, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act or implementing a national "Medicare for All" plan. (Luhby, 5/9)
In case you missed it: Make sure to check out KHN's special "Bill of the Month" series on surprisingly high medical bills, including those of two patients featured at the White House event.