Below is an excerpt from Vox
The 2 big health care fights coming up this fall
Lawmakers return to Washington this week with, what else, health care on their minds and their agenda.
In the coming weeks, there are two issues lawmakers want to address, if they can overcome the sizable political and special-interest obstacles to doing so: surprise medical bills and drug prices.
Tackling surprise medical bills has seemed like the ripest opportunity for bipartisan action to reduce Americans’ health care costs. The tales uncovered by Sarah Kliff for Vox, who documented people getting hit by a bus and then faced a $27,000 ER bill, prompted public outcry. Lawmakers are under intense pressure to get something done.
Key House and Senate panels have approved proposals that would limit patients’ financial liability if they visit an out-of-network hospital or are treated by an out-of-network provider during an emergency.
But, as The Hill’s Peter Sullivan reported last week, industry groups stepped up their efforts in August to stymie such legislation:
Powerful doctor and hospital groups are stepping up their opposition to those measures, warning that they would result in damaging cuts in payments to doctors.
“Big insurance companies want a one-size-fits-all approach that lets them decide what they’ll pay doctors for your care,” warns an ad launched by the group Physicians for Fair Coverage against the effort.
A separate group, called Doctor Patient Unity, which does not disclose its donors, has spent at least $10 million on ads opposing the effort, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Doctors also mobilized to lobby lawmakers and their staff against the effort over the August break.