A legislative package from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would handle surprise medical bills by having insurers pay them the “median in-network rate,” meaning the rate would be similar to what the plan charges other doctors in the area for the same procedure.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled next week to mark up a massive legislative package on curbing health costs, but some of the details remain unresolved, including what formula to use to pay doctors and hospitals involved in surprise medical bills.
The median cost of an air ambulance bill is more than $36,000 and seldom covered by insurance, sparking many consumer complaints. Yet none of the proposals introduced or circulating in Congress to fix surprise medical bills address these services.
The Republican’s legislation, prepared with Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on Alexander’s health committee, would be an ambitious lift because it also deals with prescription drug patents, health transparency and vaccine messaging.
This high-profile issue has gained bipartisan attention, but it remains unclear if that’s enough to move it to the finish line. Here’s a review of the current state of play.
The savvy “Right to Desire” campaign relies on feminist messages and social media to raise patient awareness about low libido. Addyi, the only drug currently approved to treat it, has shown limited effectiveness.
During a hearing Tuesday, panel members focused on how drug companies have used patents to allegedly protect their competitive edge and profits.
During Wednesday’s House subcommittee hearing on insulin price hikes, drug makers and benefits managers pointed fingers at each other for the last decade’s 300% price increase, frustrating congressional representatives.
The Senate Finance Committee’s third drug-pricing hearing focused on pharmacy benefit managers, and was more of a fact-finding mission on how these companies operate than a debate about policy proposals.
Though a range of policy solutions have been discussed by Congress, the White House and other experts, a theme of a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday was that providers and insurers are key to correcting the issue.