Letters to the Editor

Surprise medical bills hurt patients during a crisis

Iowans who go to the hospital after having coronavirus symptoms could face expensive surprise medical bills from their insurers. In a time when families have to close their wallets, a surprise bill could be financially devastating. I have faced one.

I’ve faced serious heart complications since I was a child. Over the years, I’ve undergone several surgeries and treatments. I was hit with expensive surprise medical bills afterward. Like many Iowans, I like to go hunting in nearby states, but one health complication could send me to an out-of-network hospital that my insurer doesn’t cover. We shouldn’t have to live in fear of surprise medical bills.

Sen. Joni Ernst has taken the lead on this issue with her support for the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act, which would have our doctors and insurers settle the bill in arbitration. Patients are kept out of billing disputes and are protected, while doctors are compensated for taking care of us. The alternative, insurer-backed plan for government rate setting would threaten hospitals in rural Iowa.

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s support could get the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act to pass in Congress, as other lawmakers tend to follow his lead. This is how Iowa can end surprise medical bills across the country.

Joshua Harden

Lone Tree

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