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 TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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 CassidyIvanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation Bipartisan senators ask industry for information on surprise medical bills Virginia abortion bill reignites national debate MORE (R-La.) unveiled bipartisan legislation to end surprise medical bills in September, and Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanTrade official warns senators of obstacles to quick China deal Actor Chris Evans meets with Democratic senators before State of the Union Bipartisan senators ask industry for information on surprise medical bills MORE (D-N.H.) has legislation on the topic as well.

Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettDems build case for obtaining Trump's tax returns Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Trump official says agency would not have supported family separations | 2020 Dems walk fine line on 'Medicare for all' | Advocates skeptical of Trump AIDS pledge | Johnson and Johnson to show drug prices on TV Dems unveil bill for Medicare to negotiate drug prices 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.