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Legislation protecting consumers from “surprise” medical bills has broad support, may not pass

U.S. Senate Health CommitteeThe odds are that you or someone you know has received an unexpected and excessive medical bill from a hospital or health provider.

A recent study found one in six Americans were surprised by a medical bill after receiving hospital treatment in 2017, and that’s despite having insurance. The same study found 38 percent are “very worried” about unexpected medical bills.

No one should face high medical costs they don’t expect. That should make it easy for Congress to endorse legislation protecting American consumers from so-called “surprise” medical bills.

However, The Hill reports that bipartisan legislation targeting “surprise” medical bills has hit “a buzz saw of opposition” from doctors and hospitals who are spending millions of dollars in advertising against the effort.

Politics has proved to be a roadblock, as well. With the 2020 elections ahead, Democrats are wary of giving Republicans a win on health care and Republicans have become cautious.

Those who want to take a deeper dive into the politics of surprise billing should read a recent column published in the Washington Post and written by Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

You can also sign the Voices for Affordable Health petition and tell your Senator or Representative to protect American consumers from “surprise” medical bills.