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 TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone 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 CassidyGOP senator issues stark warning to Republicans on health care Bipartisan senators offer bill to expand electric vehicle tax credit Menendez, Rubio lead Senate effort to regulate Venezuelan sanctions MORE (R-La.) unveiled bipartisan legislation to end surprise medical bills in September, and Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanOvernight Health Care: CEO of largest private health insurer slams 'Medicare for All' plans | Dem bill targets youth tobacco use | CVS fined over fake painkiller prescriptions | Trump, first lady to discuss opioid crisis at summit GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Former Democratic aide pleads guilty to doxing GOP senators attending Kavanaugh hearing MORE (D-N.H.) has legislation on the topic as well.

Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettLobbying World Treasury to miss Dem deadline for Trump tax returns Overnight Health Care: Oversight Republicans accuse Dems of partisan drug pricing probe | Democrats struggle to unite behind drug price plan | CDC investigating E. coli outbreak 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.