Latest California Healthline Stories
A House committee approved its version of legislation to solve the problem of surprise medical bills. But the measure includes a key provision that’s got less support in the Senate.
Most patients don’t argue when their health insurance won’t cover treatment or medication, but they should: Consumers win about half of their appeals. The process can sometimes be overwhelming, but there are ways to prepare and get help.
California lawmakers on Wednesday pulled legislation that would have protected some patients from surprise medical bills for emergency care, citing opposition from hospitals. They vowed to resurrect the bill next year.
Democratic presidential candidates disagreed on how to fix health care in their first debate Wednesday, although they all called for boosting insurance coverage and lowering prices. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is keeping health care in the news, too, with a new plan to make medical prices more available to the public. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this, plus the latest in news about bipartisan progress on catch-all legislation to address “surprise” medical bills. Plus, Rovner interviews NPR’s Jon Hamilton about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.
The measure also includes a range of provisions designed to address health care costs.
How big an issue will health really be in the 2020 election? Will the Republicans find their political footing on the issue? In this episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times report from the Aspen Ideas: Health festival in Aspen, Colo. Joining them are Chris Jennings, who advised Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama on health policy, and Lanhee Chen, who advised GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio.
On average, 16% of inpatient stays and 18% of emergency visits left a patient with at least one out-of-network charge, most of those came from doctors offering treatment at the hospital, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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.
A new state law says hospitals and insurers will have to work it out among themselves when they can’t agree on a price — instead of sending huge bills to patients. “Bill of the Month” patient Drew Calver galvanized attention on the issue after he told his story to KHN, NPR and “CBS This Morning.”