Congress is about to foist upon us a terrible bill.
Congress is about to do it – under cover of the sham impeachment currently underway.
And do it right before Christmas.
Which means the people not paying attention to the sham impeachment – will probably not be paying any attention at all.
And oh the irony:
This surprise bill from Congress – is about surprise bills in medical care.
What are “Surprise Medical Bills?”:
“‘Surprise medical bill’ is a term commonly used to describe charges arising when an insured individual inadvertently receives care from an out-of-network provider.
“This situation could arise in an emergency when the patient has no ability to select the emergency room, treating physicians, or ambulance providers.
“Surprise medical bills might also arise when a patient receives planned care from an in-network provider (often, a hospital or ambulatory care facility), but other treating providers brought in to participate in the patient’s care are not in the same network.”
Given the failures of Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, CHIP… – I’m a firm “No” on the government yet again attempting to “fix” medicine.
But here they go again….
“Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) along with Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) today announced they have reached a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on legislation to lower what Americans pay out of pocket for their health care.
“‘I do not think it is possible to write a bill that has broader agreement than this among Senate and House Democrats and Republicans on Americans’ number one financial concern: what they pay out of their own pockets for health care,’ Alexander said. ‘The legislation includes proposals from 80 senators, 46 Democrats and 34 Republicans.’”
Let’s begin by being generous. What’s right in this bill:
It contains Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR):
“An independent dispute resolution process, or IDR…solves the problem of surprise medical bills related to out-of-network care without disrupting the broader market, and without having to involve patients at all.
“IDR is a proven market-based approach that brings everyone to the table, making it an efficient and easy way for insurers and physicians to negotiate fairly and quickly, without added bureaucracy or costs.”
But what’s wrong with this bill? It’s a sham IDR process.
The bill is written to make it look like it creates an IDR process – but it does not.
It’s sham presence – is a Congressional con.
The sham IDR process only allows the IDR judge – to arrive at insurance company benchmark in-network prices.
Which means the books are cooked.
The sham IDR process – inexorably leads to rulings for the insurance companies. Over and over and over again….
In response to the heinous announcement of this heinous bill – The White House issued a statement:
“The Administration applauds the bipartisan efforts of House and Senate members…to move toward ending an unfair practice that causes confusion and concern for millions of Americans.
“This compromise…is the result of months of delicate work to reach a deal among congressional members and the White House that protects patients.
“Americans should not be surprised with huge medical bills when they are most vulnerable.
“We are hopeful Congress will focus on this important issue and act this year and send legislation to the President to sign into law.”
We can only hope the President is responding to the process – not the product.
Trump obviously would like a Surprise Bill bill to sign into law.
The process appears to be delivering him one.
But the product – is terrible.
Trump wants a bill to sign.
He shouldn’t want this one.
To the President and Congress, we in this instance yet again paraphrase-ically say:
Don’t just do something – stand there.