Trump calls on Congress to end ‘surprise medical bills’

President Donald Trump departs the White House Wednesday for a trip to Florida

President Donald Trump departs the White House Wednesday for a trip to Florida

U.S. President Donald Trump called on Congress on Thursday to pass legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills from out-of-network doctors that can unnecessarily cost patients tens of thousands of dollars. Patients, Trump noted, often find unknown charges in their bill, something he noted was "not a pleasant surprise".

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". These charges frequently occur when patients are treated at hospitals by doctors who are out of their network, without their knowledge.

In remarks at the White House, Trump unveiled principles the administration will send to congressional lawmakers to incorporate into a legislative package that would address surprise bills.

America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group that represents USA health insurers, said on Thursday it supports prohibiting doctors from sending patients surprise bills in cases of emergency and requiring facilities to inform patients of their doctors' insurance network status.

He said his administration would "hold insurance companies and hospitals totally accountable", adding that he believes Democrats and Republicans can "come together to do this".

The White House said it does not want federal expenditures to increase as a result of legislation. Usually patients pay a bigger share of the bill for any care sought outside those networks.

And when a patient opts for elective surgery from an in-network facility, but an out-of-network doctor is brought in and the patient is billed extra.

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

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