Surprise Medical Billing

Opinion | To the Editor:

Kudos to Congress for taking up the issue of surprise medical bills -- those high, often after-the-fact charges that come in the mail after your insurance denies coverage to an out-of-network hospital or doctor.

But a word of warning: This problem is not as simple as setting a fixed rate for what out-of-network providers can charge. That so-called "solution" would cause still more problems.

Disallowing emergency and urgent care providers to negotiate their own fair market rates would put them at the mercy of insurance companies, forcing many out of business and leaving many patients without access to important medical care. Instead of making life easier, rate setting can lead to doctor shortages, making it even harder for patients to find a provider covered by their insurance.

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