An official with the Washington, D.C.-based Taxpayers Protection Alliance warns the coronavirus would worsen if U.S. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Surprise Medical Billing legislation were already law.
That man, Ross Marchand, is the TPA’s policy director (pictured above, right).
Marchand made his remarks in a recent Washington Examiner column.
“Thanks to deeply flawed policy proposals floating around Congress, America’s healthcare system may not be well-equipped to handle the wrathful virus. Lawmakers and bureaucrats can ensure that doctors continue to treat patients quickly and effectively — but only if they ditch disastrous healthcare price-fixing schemes,” Marchand wrote.
“Currently, lawmakers are busy battling another pandemic: the unfortunate practice of surprise medical billing, which happens when out-of-network doctors treat patients at in-network facilities. Patients think that their insurance will cover their hospital stay, only to get a bill in the mail totaling hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the days following discharge. The culprit is mainly government intervention in the healthcare sector. About three-quarters of all insurance plans offered on Affordable Care Act exchanges feature ‘narrow’ networks that lead to doctors falling outside insurer reimbursement. This results in patients being held responsible for the rest.”
Despite the failures of federal fiat, lawmakers such as Alexander and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) want the government “even further involved by fixing prices charged by physicians across the country,” Marchand said.
“California tried a similar approach in 2017, but according to a 2019 analysis in the American Journal of Managed Care, this led to physicians taking a steep pay cut and corresponding consolidations across the healthcare market. Doctors reported considering leaving the state after losing leverage in negotiations with insurers post-reform,” Marchand wrote.
“If Alexander and Pallone get their way, this slow-motion disaster would play out across the country just as the coronavirus spreads. Considering the track record of U.S. hospitals preparing for previous deadly viruses, the American healthcare sector will need all the help it can get.”
As The Tennessee Star reported last month, many free-market groups oppose Alexander’s surprise medical billing legislation.
Members of Americans for Prosperity, the Center for a Free Economy, FreedomWorks, Institute for Liberty, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, among others, oppose what Alexander is doing.
According to TheHill.com, “groups like NTU and Heritage Action argue the legislation is on par with ‘price controls’ or ‘rate-setting’ that would give the government too much power in the private sector and pave the way for Medicare for All.”
The website went on to say Alexander’s planned departure from the U.S. Senate at the end of this term puts pressure on him to get his legislation passed.
As The Star reported in December, Alexander says he’ll do everything he can to keep surprise medical billing at the top of Congress’ to-do list in 2020, despite opposition from, among others, the National Taxpayers Union.
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