Medical billing

The Senate makes its move on surprise medical billing

This image is a close-up of the very top of the US Capitol building.
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.

South Carolina hospitals collect unpaid bills via patients' tax refunds

Hospitals in South Carolina are allowed to siphon off millions of dollars a year from their poorest patients' tax refunds, to recoup those patients' medical debt, according to a a wild story by the Post and Courier.

How it works: The state Department of Revenue does the work, collecting a cut for themselves, resulting in health organizations taking at least $92.9 million via more than 172,000 seizures in 2017. A lobbying group is also involved, and also takes a chunk of money for itself, resulting in another fee tacked onto patients' debt.