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Congress Faces a Deadline-Driven Rush to Address Surprise Medical Bills

The Fiscal Times Staff

Congress has passed a stopgap spending bill funding the government through December 20. The new deadline also creates a time crunch for lawmakers looking to pass legislation addressing surprise medical bills. The Hill’s Peter Sullivan writes:

“Staff in both chambers and both parties are having what Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) called ‘intense meetings’ to try to come to an agreement in time to be included in a government funding package ahead of a Dec. 20 deadline. …

“But the effort faces major obstacles. Doctors and hospitals are fiercely lobbying against the leading proposal in Congress, arguing it would cause damaging cuts to their payments. …

“The Senate Health Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee have both proposed essentially setting the payment rate based on the average price of that service. But doctors and hospitals oppose that idea and are pushing a rival approach that would let an outside arbitrator decide the amount of payment.

“Experts have warned that this approach could drive health care costs up, not down.”

Congressional leadership will have to decide if they want to include legislation on surprise billing as part of a December funding bill.

Read the full article at The Hill.

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