Letter to the Editor: Alexander has solution to end surprise medical bills

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Surprise medical bills are becoming an even bigger problem for families.

This year alone, one in five people will receive a surprise medical bill, oftentimes from an in-network hospital physician. That is because certain physicians, about 5%, purposely stay out of network in order to charge higher prices to unsuspecting families.

What most people don’t know is that these physicians work for practices owned by private equity firms that are purposely gaming the system and passing along out-of-network bills to patients even at in-network hospitals.

Thankfully, Tennessee’s own U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has proposed legislation to fix the problem. Doctors who still stay out of network would be paid a median pricing benchmark rate that is set by the private market. As prices change in the market, the median pricing rate would fluctuate as well.

Others advocate for an expensive attorney-driven practice called arbitration. It’s clear that Sen. Alexander’s solution is not government rate setting but is the simplest, fairest and, most importantly, a free-market-based solution. 

The only ones who do not want a fix to the problem are the private equity firms benefiting from surprise medical billing. Last year alone private equity firms spent $53 million to oppose a congressional solution.

Hopefully Congress will support Sen. Alexander’s median pricing benchmark and bring an end to surprise medical billing. 

Tim McCorkle


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