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Should the US Adopt California’s Policy on Surprise Medical Bills?




An AmeriCare ambulance leaves UCLA Medical Center and Orthopedic Hospital in Santa Monica
An AmeriCare ambulance leaves UCLA Medical Center and Orthopedic Hospital in Santa Monica
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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Three years ago, California passed AB-72, legislation to stop surprise medical bills for specialty hospital services. Now, there’s a national proposal to follow California’s lead, according to a story from the New York Times

The new legislation has passed in House and Senate committees, but hasn’t yet moved to the floor. Doctor’s groups like the California Medical Association oppose the policy, arguing that it denies doctors bargaining power with insurance companies over rates. Some pro-doctor groups have even suggested that hospitals will close if this legislation is passed. 

New data analysis, including a study from USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy suggests that AB-72 did affect coverage, with a 17 percent drop in out-of-network care.

Guests:

Loren Adler, associate director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy; lead author of a new study on the effects of the 2017 surprise billing law

Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association

Ted Mazer, MD, immediate past president of the California Medical Association; San Diego-based otolaryngologist