Letter: A solution for surprise medical billing

Stop surprise medical billing

For hardworking families, surprise medical bills can lead to financial ruin, leaving patients who have just undergone medical treatment on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars. While state lawmakers passed a law to protect patients, it doesn’t cover all Texans. That’s why we need federal action to protect all patients.

Unfortunately, proposals that some in Congress have introduced would only make things worse for health care in rural East Texas. One especially troublesome proposal called benchmarking would end up underpaying doctors for their services, transferring tremendous financial losses onto rural hospitals and emergency rooms. If that happens, you can bet many of these facilities will be forced to lay off staff, cut back vital services, or even consolidate or close down altogether. That means access will be even more scarce than it is now.

No one should go into debt because of surprise medical billing, but at the same time, the solution to this problem shouldn’t make a bad situation worse. That’s why Congress should pass legislation that includes independent dispute resolution, or IDR.

This would let providers and insurers negotiate out-of-network payments in a fair, transparent way, helping preserve the strength of local emergency rooms and hospitals that serve rural communities like ours. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn should both back this approach and see that Congress passes an IDR solution to end surprise medical billing once and for all.

— Danny Henry, Longview

Today's Bible verse

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

— Psalm 42:11

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