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Congress Should Act to Save Health Care Costs

Two common sense, bipartisan solutions would provide increased transparency and accountability in medical billing – and bring down health care costs

By Maribel Marroquin, September 14, 2023 10:45 am

As a mother of a young family, escalating health care costs and their impact on our budget are always at the top of my mind. Families like mine across the country continue to struggle as prices for health services are so high. One particular driver of costs has pushed them up by an average of 14 percent. We need reform, and we need it now.

Here’s what’s happening: I’ve learned that an alarming number of private physician practices are being acquired by hospitals and other corporate buyers. Those big buyers then turn around and charge higher rates for delivery of the same exact services offered in those offices, like basic preventative care. This is especially true for care delivered through Medicare at these facilities. The resulting medical bills, reflecting higher rates, are just unfair.

Two common sense, bipartisan solutions would provide increased transparency and accountability in medical billing – and bring down health care costs for families who need it the most. Congress is currently considering two reform bills – the Site-based Invoicing and Transparency Enhancement Act (SITE) in the Senate and the Facilitating Accountability in Reimbursements Act (FAIR) in the House of Representatives. These proposals aim to reduce exorbitant medical costs and increase access to care.

Passage of the FAIR and SITE would result in billions of dollars in medical savings for working families while protecting the quality of care that millions of Americans have come to rely on. The FAIR and SITE Acts would also bring relief to small businesses by reducing health insurance costs – not to mention protecting independent doctor’s offices that are becoming increasingly endangered.

Access to affordable care is not a controversial issue. A major conservative newspaper recently published an opinion piece titled “Doctor’s Office Care at Hospital Prices” which claims “consolidation of medical practices brings dishonest billing that costs patients and taxpayers billions.” In a major left-leaning newspaper, a recent opinion piece points out that “when hospitals buy doctors’ practices, research shows, rates for visits tend to go up.”

As a non-profit professional, my health care costs and out-of-pocket expenses are always unpredictable. Passing comprehensive legislation that ensures fair billing will improve the quality and availability of medical care for myself and my family and our quality of life.

My family isn’t alone. A California Health Care Foundation study highlighted that the affordability of health care has affected Californian’s decisions regarding treatment. Half of the study’s respondents shared that a member of their family was forced to delay or forgo care because it was too expensive.

Unfair health care billing exacerbates this problem. As inflation continues to plague our economy and the cost of goods and services skyrockets, families like mine are left to make impossible choices. We should not have to face more out-of-pocket costs. We must have access to affordable care.

It’s no wonder that both the Obama and Trump administrations pursued fair billing policies as part of their health care agendas. It just makes sense. Out-of-pocket health care expenses are crushing consumers and hurting small businesses. Congress must take advantage of this bipartisan opportunity to pass the FAIR and SITE Acts – families like mine are depending on it.

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6 thoughts on “Congress Should Act to Save Health Care Costs

  1. How about getting big government out of the healthcare business? Some of us remember a time when healthcare was affordable for most and was easily obtained? Doctors even made house calls?

  2. Direct result of Obamacare. Billing under Obamacare is so complex that small practices were forced to go under the umbrella of hospitals who have more financial and billing resources. These large corporations which own the hospitals then set and raise the prices to make their investors happy. This has led to no competition anymore because doctors and small hospitals can’t survive under Obamacare. This in turn means less choices in care, less autonomy for doctors who are now regulated by their overseers and less patient focused care which would
    lead to more preventative medical care. Sick people mean more money for corporate hospitals. Health insurance companies continue to also increase costs so their CEO’s make billions and blame the cost of healthcare going higher. Insurance companies and corporate hospitals are no different and care nothing about the little people. There are also all the middlemen who drive up the costs along with lobbyist working on behalf of these corporate heads. We, the little people are just cogs in their money making machine. “Universal” healthcare is also a sham. Canada, Britain’s etc… healthcare is failing and these lucky enough to have private get better less rationed care. Congress needs to cut out the middleman, lobbyists, managers, and get rid of Obamacare and encourage small practices and hospitals again. We need more focus on preventing diseases, good nutrition which can be done even if a person is poor, and looking at end of life care realistically. We need more hospice and palliative care programs instead of more surgeries and focus on treatments that do not work. I bet cancer can be cured but who really wants to do that because then a ton of money from treatments and surgeries would be lost. I worked as a Social Worker in local hospitals before and after Obamacare and it has devastated our private hospitals and physical practices especially in certain areas.

    1. Thank you Kristin for taking the time to explain what began this mess.
      It is my understanding and experience as well.
      I believe it is meant to frustrate the consumer and to accept a single payer system in the near future.
      The government intervention has escalated the issue of high costs and complicated bill processing.
      Medical providers spend an exorbitant of time on the computer. That time could be better spent with patients.

  3. Respectfully, are you serious? The republicans and democrats are allowing illegals to flood America. The subject illegals are receiving heath care you can only wish to receive. Additionally, they are receiving cash payouts and phones while you and yours suffer.
    Simply stated, there isn’t enough money to care for the intruders and your family: You are the alien!

  4. I too have noticed the corporate take over of private doctors’ practices. The worst part is you don’t even realize the doctor operates under the corporate umbrella until you start dealing with the bills and insurance, and trying to get a live person on the phone. Even practitioners I’ve used for years have fallen prey to the impersonal, dishonest and non-English speaking, incompetently staffed corporate system. Yeah, I’m talking about you MemorialCare.

  5. Stop health insurance fraud. That will take 10% off the top without having to change any services profile. We presented this to Medi-Cal and they did not want to act, because they get more taxpayer money when fraud is part of the cost base. The GAO said my company can address 1/4 or fraud.

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