Congress must protect consumers from surprise medical billing

by | Sep 8, 2020


In rural America, access to health care providers and facilities is always a challenge. Many of us rely on a limited number of options for hospitals and medical providers to service the needs of our community. Across the country, the strain on the health care system these past months has only been amplified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But if that weren’t challenging enough, big insurance companies have been busy at work in Washington trying to stick patients and doctors with even more costs all while raking in huge profits during this public health emergency.

If insurance companies are successful in getting Congress to pass “rate-setting” legislation, it will allow insurers to arbitrarily set below-market reimbursement rates for the critical care provided by our rural physicians and medical facilities. Those costs that insurance companies refuse to cover would have to be paid by doctors, hospitals, and even patients who often don’t have the ability to select an in-network facility in their communities. If passed, frontline medical workers who are putting themselves in harm’s way every single day could see a 20% pay cut which risks hospital closure threatens the health and care of Americans in rural areas.

There’s a clear and better choice: Congress can pass Independent Dispute Resolution to end surprise medical billing of patients and ensure that billing disputes between insurance companies and medical providers are mediated by an objective third-party. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that patients aren’t stuck with financially devastating bills and rural medical providers aren’t at risk of closing their doors. Those of us faced with limited health care options need Congress to make it easier for us to obtain the critical care we need in the moments that matter most.

— David Biddle is a state committeeman who serves as the vice-chairman of Stand Up North Florida

2 Comments

  1. James M. Mejuto

    Comment

    re: Medical billing: This is a prime example of the abuse from hospitals and
    medical providers that would not exist with Medicare For All.
    It’s baffling why insurance companies put up with this nonsense or are they
    genetically connected to these crooks?
    We are the only industrial country still putting up with B.S. private healthcare.
    It’s time to recognize healthcare, our right not a privilege.

    Reply
  2. Indy

    Yup. It’s time for Medicare 4 All. At this point, anything else is an attempt to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic: it doesn’t matter because the ship is sinking.

    I don’t even understand why anyone would pay medical claims at this point. The providers are typically billing 3.5X what they actually collect, because they know most people and insurers will balk at these inflated costs and arbitrary charges.

    And of course, even after you’ve paid $20,000 a year in family premiums, your insurer isn’t going to cover anything, anyway. Let’s stop subsidizing these middle-man parasites with employer tax advantages and mandates. Let’s take care of our own people, just like they do in every other wealthy country on Earth.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.