Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander on surprise medical billing


Ending the practice of hospitals and providers sending surprise medical bills to patients is a perfect example of how Congress and President Trump can work together to reduce out of pocket health care costs for Americans.

About 20 percent of patients who go to the emergency room end up several weeks later with a sky-high bill that they did not expect. I would imagine that most Tennesseans have either experienced this or have heard stories about friends and family members struggling to stretch their paychecks to cover a surprise medical bill in the mail.

Here is a story that I heard recently: Todd is a father from Knoxville who took his son to an emergency room after a bicycle accident. After his son was treated, Todd paid a $150 copay because the emergency room was "in-network" for his health insurance, and they headed home.

Todd was surprised when he received a bill in the mail for $1,800 - even though the emergency room was "in-network," the doctor who treated his son was not.

Todd wrote to me, trying to figure out why it is so hard to understand what healthcare really costs and said, "If I'm expected to be a conscientious consumer of my own healthcare needs, I need a little more help."

There is a bipartisan consensus that surprise billing is a problem, and resolving it has the opportunity to have bipartisan support in Congress.

Last week, I was at the White House with President Trump when he said he wanted Congress "to pass legislation to protect American patients. For too long, surprise billings ... have left some patients with thousands of dollars of unexpected and unjustified charges for services they did not know anything about and, sometimes, services they did not have any information on."

I told him that, working with my colleagues in the Senate health committee I chair, we plan to have a bipartisan solution to end the practice of surprise medical billing on the floor of the U.S. Senate by July of this year.

I was glad to hear President Trump tell me we will have the full support of the White House as we work to end surprise billing in Congress. This bill will be a part of a broader piece of legislation I'm working on to lower the cost of health care in the United States.

The federal government is not going to lower the cost of healthcare overnight, but I believe there are steps we can take that would make a real difference to American families. And I think that getting rid of the harmful practice of surprise medical billing will be one of those important steps.


Related Articles:

Recent Articles

Study Finds Certain Genetic Test Not Useful in Predicting Heart Disease Risk

A Polygenic Risk Score -- a genetic assessment that doctors have hoped could predict coronary heart disease (CHD) in patients -- has been found not to be a useful predictive biomarker for disease risk, according to a Vanderbilt study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Read More

Tennessee Infants Exposed to Hep C at Birth Often Not Tested for Virus

Most Tennessee infants exposed to hepatitis C at birth are not later tested to see if they acquired the virus, according to a study by researchers at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy.

Read More

THA, TMA, TNA Outline Legislative Priorities

With the Tennessee General Assembly back in full swing, the state's major healthcare associations outline 2020 priorities.

Read More

Cardiac Innovation in Nashville

From transplants to trials, Nashville hospitals are leading the way in cardiac care.

Read More

A Modern Love Story: Where Technology, Healthcare & Construction Go Hand-in-Hand

Technology has changed every aspect of our lives. In fact, I had a healthy laugh a few weeks ago when I showed my children an old rotary phone and, get this, they did not know what it was.

Read More

Reeves/Smith Bill to Prevent Next Generation of Nicotine Addiction Garners Broad Industry Support

In late January, a group of more than 25 organizations from across Tennessee announced their support for legislation that seeks to prevent the next generation of nicotine addicts in the state.

Read More

Physician Spotlight: A Heart for Healing

TriStar Summit cardiologist Kristen Kerr is passionate about education, improving outcomes in women's heart health.

Read More

Heart Monitor

Read More

Ifetroban for Treating DMD-Associated Cardiomyopathy

Following successful preclinical trials and FDA funding, Cumberland Pharmaceuticals is preparing to launch a new Phase II trial of ifetroban to treat cardiomyopathy in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients.

Read More

Endocrine Society Celebrates Progress from Bench to Bedside

Endocrine Society Chief Professional & Clinical Affairs Officer Robert Lash, MD, discusses the field, annual meeting, road shows and more.

Read More

Email Print



Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: