I am not one to write into the paper often, but due to the importance of this issue, I felt compelled to do so. Surprise medical billing has affected us all in one way or another. You go to the doctor or local emergency room, pay your co-pay and get treated. Six months goes by and you receive a bill in the mail for a couple hundred dollars. These bills don’t always come at the most opportune times either. We need a solution to this issue as soon as possible.

Congress is in the midst of considering a bill that would help correct these issues, but it is not a done deal. Unless this proposal is much improved over previous bills that rely on a benchmark rate, it remains highly problematic and would jeopardize patient access to hospital care, particularly in rural communities.

With a year-end package being considered by Congress, I urge them to support the inclusion of a meaningful and accessible independent dispute resolution process in the package. This issue is too important to pass the wrong solution. If a meaningful and accessible resolution process isn’t included, Congress should keep working to find a solution rather than jam this issue into an end-of-year package.

Kenneth Clark

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