Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The White House said yesterday that it wants Congress to pass legislation protecting patients from receiving surprise medical bills after they visit the emergency room or unknowingly receive care from providers not covered by their insurance.

Between the lines: While the White House declined to say how it wanted billing disputes between insurers and providers resolved, it said that it's not enthusiastic about an arbitration process, which some industry groups favor.

  • Other solutions that have been floated include setting rates or paying hospitals and doctors in one payment, forcing them to figure out who gets what.

The other side: Provider groups didn't love the White House's skepticism toward arbitration, or its principle that "out-of-network providers cannot separately bill patients."

  • "While the idea of a single bill sounds appealing, putting that into practice could have significant unintended consequences," the American Medical Association said in a statement.
  • "Ideas like 'bundled payments' and rate setting may seem straightforward, but the truth is they are untested, unproven and an unnecessary government intrusion into the private market," the Federation of American Hospitals said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Technology

Tech hits the brakes on office reopenings

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech was the first industry to send its workers home when COVID-19 first hit the U.S., and it has been among the most cautious in bringing workers back. Even still, many companies are realizing that their reopening plans from as recently as a few weeks ago are now too optimistic.

Why it matters: Crafting reopening plans gave tech firms a chance to bolster their leadership and model the beginnings of a path back to normalcy for other office workers. Their decision to pause those plans is the latest sign that normalcy is likely to remain elusive in the U.S.

The existential threat to small business

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the game for U.S. businesses, pushing forward years-long shifts in workplaces, technology and buying habits and forcing small businesses to fight just to survive.

Why it matters: These changes are providing an almost insurmountable advantage to big companies, which are positioned to come out of the recession stronger and with greater market share than ever.

Students say they'll sacrifice fun if they can return to campus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

College students overwhelmingly plan to return to campus this fall if their schools are open — and they claim they'll sit out the fun even if it's available, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.

Why it matters: For many, even an experience devoid of the trappings of college life is still a lot better than the alternative.