Doctors, hospitals, health insurers, and Big Pharma have become so abusive to patients with their billing and pricing that they may have accomplished what many consider a political impossibility ̶ angering Democrats and Republicans in Congress as well as the White House, pushing them all toward bipartisan legislation and executive actions.
Don’t bet on the exact outcome of the latest stirrings. They’re grist for a surge in coverage by the New York Times (click here), Washington Post (here), Wall Street Journal (here), Kaiser Health News (here), Modern Health Care (here), Stat (here), and Pro Publica (here). The stories point out that the partisan divide is too great for Congress and the White House to get near serious work on big health care-related issues like improving the Affordable Care Act.
So, instead, as the articles report, lawmakers are taking varying approaches to attack medical billing, particularly so-called surprise bills (out-of-pocket charges patients get hit with when they get medical services from providers outside their health insurance networks) and balance billing, when medical providers chase patients for charges above what they’ve already recouped from insurers. Health reporters have drilled down on stories about such billing outrages. Drug and hospitals prices also are big targets.