Why Is Surprise Medical Billing Congress' Problem?

As Congress returns from its summer break, the effort to rein in surprise medical bills hangs in the balance. Physician and hospital groups are engaged in aggressive lobbying to derail the emergence of compromise legislation, or at least to water it down before it gets approved. Congress should ignore the industry and do what is necessary to protect patients who have no ability to avoid these bills on their own.

Important as it is for Congress to act, policymakers also should consider why the insurance industry seems incapable of fixing this problem on its own, because the answer has implications for broader reform.

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