May 16, 2019

The Senate makes its move on surprise medical billing

Photo: Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of senators release the latest proposal to protect patients from surprise hospital bills on Thursday, only 2 days after the House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders released theirs.

The bottom line: Like most other proposals, the bill would protect patients from receiving out-of-network bills in emergencies, or when receiving scheduled care from out-of-network doctors at in-network facilities.

Yes, but: The leaders of the committee with jurisdiction over the issue are not sponsoring the bill.

Details: Providers would be paid the difference between a patient's in-network cost-sharing requirements and the median in-network rate for their services.

  • Insurers and providers could appeal that payment formula, and determine the rate using an arbitration process.
  • It also would require the Department of Health and Human Services to study the feasibility of hospitals and doctors submitting only one bill to patients for all of the services included in a single episode of care.

What we're watching: Whether providers view this blended approach as a reasonable compromise, or whether it just makes everyone mad that they didn't get exactly what they wanted.

Go deeper: Capitol Hill sees bipartisan momentum on surprise medical billing

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.

WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.