State of the Union guests to highlight surprise medical bills

Members of Congress plan to bring guests to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Feb. 5 to bring awareness to surprise medical billing, according to Kaiser Health News.

Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, for instance, reportedly intends to bring a guest who was billed more than $1,600 for a trip to an emergency room that was in her insurance company's network. The physician the patient saw was out of network.

Democrat Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin also will bring guests with stories about prescription drug costs, according to KHN.

The issue of surprise medical billing has been in the spotlight recently after President Trump vowed to end surprise medical bills that leave patients with high, unexpected out-of-pocket costs.

The president's pledge in January has sparked efforts by lawmakers to address the billing issue.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said he expects to see surprise billing legislation "in the next several months," according to KHN.

While it is unclear what final legislation would look like, a bipartisan group of senators has proposed a bill called the Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills Act. Ms. Hassan  also has worked on surprise billing legislation, as has U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means' health subcommittee.

Read more about those proposals here.


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