House Dems to hold hearing on preventing surprise medical bills

House Democrats will hold a hearing on protecting patients from surprise medical bills next week, according to a congressional aide. 

A subcommittee of the Education and Labor Committee will convene the hearing April 2. Witnesses have not yet been announced. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The hearing, which has not yet been publicly announced, was first reported by Vox.

Calls for action against surprise medical bills have been growing, and legislation to protect patients from such unexpected expenses is seen as one of the most likely areas for bipartisan action on health care this year. The debate is over how to determine how much an insurer will pay to a doctor or hospital.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE has said he wants to make the issue a priority this year. 

A surprise bill usually occurs when a patient receives a sizable bill after going to a hospital, often because they received treatment from a doctor outside the patient’s insurance network.

Lawmakers have been spurred into action by viral stories of surprise bills across the country, and industry groups are jockeying to make sure they don't take a big financial hit from any legislation.

The hearing would be the first major action on surprise billing from the House side. 

Members of the Senate Health Committee have primarily been taking the lead, and committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the panel's top Democrat, recently asked the Congressional Budget Office to analyze possible policy options.