The administration is targeting unexpected out-of-network bills during hospital visits


President Donald Trump has asked Congress to take on surprise medical bills.

In a news release, Trump said “the seen and unseen costs of health care are still taking an enormous toll on millions of American families.” Patients, Trump noted, often find unknown charges in their bill, something he noted was “not a pleasant surprise.” These charges frequently occur when patients are treated at hospitals by doctors who are out of their network, without their knowledge. The administration said that it wants to put limitations on this practice.

During a press briefing in the White House on Thursday, Trump said that he was “eager to work with both parties” in Congress to get this done. He added that he planned “to hold insurance companies and hospitals totally accountable.”

The Trump administration said, “Patients receiving emergency care should not be forced to shoulder extra costs billed by a care provider but not covered by their insurer.” It also said that patients “should have information about whether providers are in or out of their network and what costs they may face” and that patients “should not receive surprise bills from out-of-network providers they did not choose” and that [f]ederal healthcare expenditures should not increase.”

The proposal would prevent hospitals from charging patients with out-of-network charges greater than what they pay for in-network doctors and services. It would also seek to guarantee that health care costs overall were not raised by these changes.

Such changes have garnered bipartisan support in Congress before, but have never managed to become law.