It seems as President Trump’s bipartisan win to lower surprise medical costs from emergency visits to hospitals is terrifying the Dems.
This is a very complicated subject with ‘in networks’ and ‘out of networks’ but to cut through the noise – American people are vulnerable when they are rushed to an emergency room – and certain industries are taking advantage of that.
Americans are getting screwed in big numbers and certain industries are laughing all the way to the bank. So the President and his administration got a deal to fix it and got bipartisan support.
But the swamp got to one key player Rep. Richard Neal, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He scuttled the deal and people are not happy.
“There is extreme frustration. This was the deal. It was vetted. It was signed off on. It was approved. The White House endorsed it,” said one House Republican aide. “That’s when you need to set aside egos and get on board. This was going to be a win for the American people.”
Buzzfeed reported that ultimately, the Senate Health Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee came to a compromise: Doctors cannot send surprise bills to patients, and insurance companies will pay out doctors at the average in-network rate for all bills up to $750. Above $750, the price goes to arbitration.
The deal was endorsed by Trump and seemed set to pass, but it was always on shaky ground. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, receiving pressure from the Greater New York Hospital Association, didn’t endorse the bill but also didn’t try to block it. Politicians in both parties had problems with the bill, but it seemed to have enough support.
Then, last week, Neal surprised everyone by releasing a counter proposal. Conversations with half a dozen politicians and aides across both parties and chambers with knowledge of the process concluded that the proposal from the Ways and Means Committee fractured the unsteady coalition and killed chances for surprise billing to be solved in 2019.
“That came out of the blue at the end,” said Rep. Greg Walden, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “When something like that happens, it gives others the excuse to go, ‘Oh look, they’re not ready.’”
Neal’s primary challenger, the mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, Alex Morse,alleges a different explanation. Morse accused Neal of being bought by a $29,000 donation from the Blackstone Group, a private equity owner of physician-staffing company TeamHealth, which profits from surprise billing.
“It’s evident who Congressman Neal is working for. He’s certainly not working for the people,” said Morse. Neal’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.