surprise medical bills

New surprise bill lobbying from ER doctors

Two weeks after a handful of senators introduced legislation to curtail surprise medical bills, the American College of Emergency Physicians hired new lobbyists to handle the issue.

Driving the news: ACEP, the trade group representing emergency room doctors, brought on four lobbyists with the law firm Holland & Knight on Oct. 2, according to a federal disclosure. The law firm directed questions to ACEP.

Why ending surprise medical bills is harder than it looks

Illustration of rope lassoing a hospital bill.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Staggering surprise medical bills are finally getting some scrutiny from policymakers. But to take patients off the hook for those bills, the money has to come from somewhere else — usually from higher insurance premiums or out of doctors’ bottom lines.

The big picture: Getting an unexpected bill for thousands of dollars is a gut-level problem. Yet that problem is a product of the health care system’s complexity, and every potential solution runs into roadblocks from an industry that wants to protect its profits, or skepticism from policy experts or political opposition.

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