Members of the Washington, D.C.-based Taxpayers Protection Alliance have released a letter ripping politicians’ proposals to set price controls for health care coverage.
Several academics from around the country attached their names to the letter, including the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga economics professor Bruce Hutchinson. These economists compose a group called the Coalition Against Rate Setting.
As The Tennessee Star has reported, many right-of-center groups oppose legislation that U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has put forward to address surprise medical billing.
The TPA letter addresses President Donald Trump and the majority and minority leaders of Congress.
“The undersigned economists believe that ‘surprise’ medical bills, which patients sometimes receive after they are treated by a provider unknowingly outside of their insurance network are a real public policy concern that policymakers should work to address,” according to the TPA letter.
“However, we are opposed to the enactment of price controls that would peg provider reimbursement to a ‘benchmark’ rate picked by the federal government. Such proposals represent a direct government intervention in health care that would hurt access to care, especially for patients in rural areas.”
The economists went on to say government price controls often result in shortages and market distortions.
“These outcomes should be avoided, especially when dealing with important health care services like emergency room visits and physician care,” the economists wrote.
“As Congress and the Administration continue to work to address surprise medical bills, we respectfully urge you to reject federal price controls, including a benchmark rate.”
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 Alexander on this matter.
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