Trump calls for an end to 'surprise medical bills'
(9 May 2019) President Donald Trump on Thursday called for an end to "surprise medical bills," the astonishingly high charges insured patients can face when a member of a medical team that treats them is not in their insurer's network.
"Not a pleasant surprise," Trump said of bills that arrive in the mail and run to tens of thousands of dollars. "A very unpleasant surprise."
The administration threw its support behind efforts by lawmakers of both parties to address the problem, laying out a set of goals for legislation.
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.
"Surprise" bills amounting to tens of thousands of dollars can hit patients and their families when they are most vulnerable — after a medical emergency or following a complex surgical procedure.
Often patients are able to negotiate lower charges by working with their insurers and the medical provider. But the process usually takes months, adding stress and anxiety. Sometimes it doesn't work out and the bills are sent to collection agencies.
"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."
Lawmakers at the White House event said they hoped to deliver a bill in July.
Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/3e98e514185b201b43005035e4352eae