President Trump today released guiding principles for addressing surprise medical bills.
 
According to the principles, patients receiving emergency care should not be forced to shoulder extra costs billed by a care provider but not covered by their insurer; patients receiving scheduled care should have information about whether providers are in or out of their network and what costs they may face; patients should not receive surprise bills from out-of-network providers they did not choose; and federal health care expenditures should not increase.
 
AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “America’s hospitals and health systems are fully committed to protecting patients from unanticipated medical bills that they may incur because of unexpected gaps in their health coverage or as a result of medical emergencies. The last thing a patient should worry about in a health crisis is a surprise medical bill. The AHA commends the Administration and Congress for their work to find solutions to this problem.
 
“The AHA has urged Congress to enact legislation that would protect patients from surprise bills. We can achieve this by simply banning balance billing. This would protect patients from any bills above their in-network cost-sharing obligations. Untested proposals such as bundling payments would create significant disruption to provider networks and contracting without benefiting patients.
 
“We look forward to our continued work with the Administration and Congress on workable solutions to stop surprise bills.”
 
In February, the AHA unveiled a set of principles to help inform the ongoing federal policy debate regarding surprise billing, and joined other hospital groups in sharing a letter with key legislators outlining its position using these principles as a guide. In a joint letter to congressional leaders in April, the AHA, Federation of America's Hospitals and American Medical Association said "bundled payments are not appropriate for emergency care and have not been sufficiently tested for widespread adoption for other types of care."

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