Trump calls for cracking down on surprise medical bills

Trump calls for cracking down on surprise medical bills
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants MORE on Wednesday spoke out against surprise medical bills that patients often cannot afford, highlighting an issue that has received bipartisan concern in Congress.

“The health care system too often harms people with some unfair surprises ... medical bills and the like,” Trump said at a roundtable at the White House, along with patients who had received unexpectedly large bills from hospitals.

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“We're going to stop all of it, and it's very important to me,” Trump added.

Cracking down on surprise medical bills is seen as a rare area of possible bipartisan action on health care. Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' MORE (R-La.) unveiled bipartisan legislation to end surprise medical bills in September, and Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanDemocratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students State officials press Congress for more resources to fight cyberattacks Sanders says NH Democratic senators were wrong to back Trump's USMCA MORE (D-N.H.) has legislation on the topic as well.

Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettPelosi trashes Trump address: 'He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech' Green says House shouldn't hold impeachment articles indefinitely Appeals court strikes ObamaCare mandate, sends case back to lower court MORE (D-Texas) also has a bill in the House to crack down on the practice. 

Trump spoke of patients who “go in, they have a procedure, and then all of a sudden they can’t afford it, they had no idea it was so bad.”

He said his vision is for patients to know “exactly what the cost is" before they receive care.

Several stories of patients who landed surprise medical bills have gotten widespread attention and helped galvanize calls for action in recent months.

For example, in August, NPR reported on a teacher in Texas who got a bill for $108,951 from the hospital for care for his heart attack, even after his insurer had paid $55,840.

The details of any proposal to end practices like this will be closely watched by health care industry groups, who will be examining whether insurers or hospitals are asked to bear more of the brunt of the cost of picking up the tab instead of patients.