New Poll Seems to Contradict U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander on Surprise Medical Billing

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Members of the Washington, D.C.-based Taxpayer Protection Alliance (TPA) have released a new poll about surprise medical billing that apparently rebukes U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and his position on the matter.

As The Tennessee Star reported last year, 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.

As reported last year, members of the National Taxpayers Union warned that Alexander is pushing legislation to tackle surprise medical billing that is “an unacceptable form of rate-setting that will only limit access to care and lead to a system of government-picked winners and losers.”

TPA members released a new poll that says 75 percent of those surveyed believe doctors should come up with a fair amount that health insurers pay doctors for the medical care they provide. And, in cases of payment disputes, 74 percent of those support an independent third-party resolving the payment dispute rather than the federal government.

“The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a poll of Senate battleground states today showing voters overwhelmingly oppose government schemes like rate-setting as an answer to surprise medical billing,” according to a TPA press release.

“Voters hold doctors and nurses in the highest regard, with more than 90 percent agreeing the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how valuable and vital their work is as they fight on the front lines. Proposals like rate-setting become even less popular as voters learn more about how it would result in doctor shortages, hospital closures, and harm to rural and underserved communities.”

Alexander spokesman William Heartsill told The Star in an email Friday that he would respond to our request for comment sometime this weekend.

TPA President David Williams said in that organization’s press release that “rate-setting was unpopular before COVID-19 but it has now become politically unviable.”

“Doctors and nurses are risking their lives to care for sick patients and voters have made it clear that lawmakers should stand with healthcare heroes, not insurance companies,” Williams said.

“Legislation that resembles rate-setting in any capacity will be met with strong opposition. By a clear margin, voters also make it clear they do not want a rate-setting law that opens the door for Medicare for All. Congress must move forward with a solution that protects patients and doctors instead of delivering a win to big insurance companies.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]








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