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

AMA Supports Congress Providing Much-Needed Relief to Physicians Working Through the Pandemic

CHICAGO -- The American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supports provisions in the Continuing Resolution that will offer relief to hard-pressed physician practices. Revisions to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments program (AAP) will help keep doors open during the pandemic and continue to offer patients access at this time.

Read More

AMA Releases 2021 CPT Code Set

New updates to medicine's common language reflect burden relief, COVID-19 testing and tech-enabled medical services

Read More

Council on Aging Offers Helpline, Resources for Healthcare Providers

COA offers a helpline and lifeline to providers, older adults, caregivers and family members trying to navigate services.

Read More

VUMC Launches Groundwork for Tennessee's First Federally Funded Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

Angela Jefferson, PhD, professor of Neurology and director of the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer's Center, has been awarded a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support establishment of an NIA-funded exploratory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).

Read More

From Pain Management to Pandemic: The Changing Face of Sports Medicine

New norms mean new routines and standards of care on and off the field.

Read More

Kids, Classrooms and COVID-19

Risk mitigation key as kids hit the classrooms.

Read More

Meharry, Wharton Partner on Dual Degree Program

Meharry Medical College and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania have partnered on a joint MD/PhD program.

Read More

Practice Management Q&A with NMGMA

NMGMA leaders answer questions about challenging practice management issues.

Read More

Physician Practice Leadership in a Post-COVID-19 Environment

COVID-19 has changed just about every aspect of daily life, including the way care is delivered. Looking toward a post-COVID landscape, practice leaders will need to reevaluate processes and assess the best way forward.

Read More

Economic Effect of COVID-19 Shutdowns & PPP Relief

A public health crisis, COVID-19 has also proven to be an economic crisis for practices and providers. For those receiving PPP relief, the path to forgiveness is coming into focus.

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: