Send bill to lower US health costs for Trump's signature this month, senator urges colleagues

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Bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate would end surprise medical bills and should be sent to President Donald Trump for signing this month, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., wrote in an opinion piece for The Tennessean.

Mr. Alexander, along with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., formally introduced the Lower Health Care Costs Act June 19.

The legislation addresses surprise medical bills as well as healthcare cost transparency and drug prices. It passed the Senate health committee June 26, and Mr. Alexander said he hopes the full Senate will pass the bill and send it to President Trump for signing in July.

The Lower Health Care Costs Act "includes 55 proposals from 65 senators — 29 Republicans and 36 Democrats — that would increase transparency in medical costs for patients and employers and increase prescription drug competition to lower the cost of generic drugs, which make up 90 percent of all prescriptions written," Mr. Alexander wrote.

Under the legislation, patients would only be on the hook for the in-network cost-sharing amount for out-of-network emergency care and for care they received from ancillary out-of-network practitioners, and for out-of-network diagnostic services at facilities in their insurance company's network.

The legislation also would ensure patients know the estimated price of nonemergency healthcare before a procedure takes place, said Mr. Alexander.

To settle surprise-billing disputes, the legislation requires health plans to pay providers the local median contracted commercial amount that insurers have negotiated with other providers and agreed to in that local area.

Read more about the legislation and its proposals here

 

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Deborah Vancleave on Mosaic's price transparency efforts

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