Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said during a hearing Tuesday that the Donald Trump administration is committed to passing a bill to end surprise medical bills.
During the Labor-HHS appropriations subcommittee hearing, Azar reiterated the Trump administration’s support for ending surprise medical bills.
Surprise medical billing has become one of the leading issues for healthcare reform. Surprise medicals bills occur when a patient sees a doctor out of his health insurance network and that doctor bills the patient for the charges that the insurer will not pay. When the health insurance company and the health provider cannot resolve the dispute, they often foot the bill onto the patient.
One leading proposal, the Lower Health Care Costs Act, passed out of the Senate health committee with an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of 20 senators in favor and only three against the measure.
Health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander asked Azar Tuesday:
So my question for you is, is this high on the president’s priority list and will you continue to work with this committee and the three House committees to get a result on ending surprise billing, which includes the air ambulance and other provisions as well as the community health centers?
Azar responded, noting that the administration hopes to pass a bipartisan bill on surprise medical bills:
As you know, this is a very high priority for the president, ending surprise medical bills. And we’re very happy that we actually have consensus about the core issue, which is protecting the patient from surprise medical bills. And what we’re just trying to do is work with the committees on who then bears that cost—insurers, providers, hospitals, etc. on the back side. And we want to work with you to try to bridge that because you’re right, it does need to get through.
“We want to get a bipartisan, bicameral solution passed,” Azar added.
President Trump said during the February State of the Union that, “The American patient should never be blindsided by medical bills.”