Some Republicans in the U.S. Senate are reportedly drifting toward another surprise medical billing proposal, one that differs from what U.S. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee has to offer.
This, according to ModernHealthcare.com, which reported some of these Republican senators have competitive re-election races this year.
“As a May 22 deadline to fund expiring healthcare programs gets closer, several vulnerable GOP senators have announced their support for a surprise billing proposal pushed by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that has been shelved by committee leadership. Sens. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) announced their support for Cassidy’s bill on Feb. 11, and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) followed suit on March 3,” according to the website.
“Tillis said he thought some portions of a bipartisan compromise bill between Senate health committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) ‘went too far,’ and that he thinks Cassidy’s legislation has a better chance of passing.”
Cassidy’s bill, the website went on to say, “includes a median benchmark payment and a baseball-style arbitration process to resolve disputes.”
“Cassidy’s office said the legislation would save the federal government between $17 billion and $18 billion compared with $24 billion for the Alexander-Murray compromise with House committee leaders,” according to ModernHealthcare.com
“Providers like the arbitration mechanism in Cassidy’s bill because the arbitrator would be allowed to consider prior negotiated rates.”
As The Tennessee Star reported earlier this month, The Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Action argued against Alexander’s Surprise Medical Billing legislation. Members of the group also said conservatives must steer legislators away from what it called “the heavy hand of big government.”
Members of Heritage Action, in a toolkit members released last week, also said people must turn legislators toward market-based solutions.
“Government intervention has caused market distortions, introducing fixes that make matters worse,” according to Heritage Action.
“A prime example is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which for most Americans, has only led to higher insurance premiums and fewer choices in the healthcare marketplace,” Heritage said.
As The Tennessee Star reported in July, surprise medical billing happens when a patient receives out-of-network care without his or her knowledge – either in an emergency or during a visit to an in-network facility. Weeks later, insurance companies send bills demanding patients pay money for services they assumed insurance would cover.
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.
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