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President Calls For End to Surprise Medical Bills, Lays Out Principles He’d Support

President Trump yesterday called for an end to surprise medical billing, when an insured patient receives a bill from a healthcare facility where all or part of the practitioners are not part of the patient’s insurance network.

There have been a growing number of stories of individuals who have received bills for tens of thousands of dollars for emergency procedures, and a number of states have started working on measures to keep patients from receiving surprise medical bills when they leave the hospital.

“We’re going to hold insurance companies and hospitals totally accountable,” President Trump said yesterday from the White House, where he invited a number of individuals who have received surprise medical bills to share their stories. “No one in America should be bankrupted unexpectedly by health care costs that are absolutely out of control. No family should be blindsided by outrageous medical bills.”

One individual, who had a lab test done at an out-of-network facility, was billed $17,000, for example. 

The White House laid out a series of principles that it said the President would support in proposed legislation. Those principles are:

  • Patients who receive emergency care should not be hit with charges that exceed the amount paid to in-network providers. In an emergency, patients are in no position to check whether their insurers have contracted with the surgeons or anesthesiologists who provide care.
  • Patients going in for a scheduled procedure should get upfront information about whether their clinicians are in their insurer’s network and what costs they will face. Patients should not get out-of-network bills from a provider they did not pick.
  • Fixes should not add to federal health care costs.

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