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Iowa patients with coronavirus could find surprise medical bills after their treatments. They hit patients who received medical care from out-of-network emergency room doctors who are not covered by their insurance companies. Many of them often appeal the costs to their insurance companies, but the house usually rules in its own favor. Congress can fix this problem by passing the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act.

The bill protects patients from surprise medical bills by having their insurance companies and doctors negotiate out-of-network costs in independent arbitration. Our local doctors and hospitals that save lives and care for us would also be justly compensated, as insurance companies wouldn’t be able to avoid paying them.

On the other hand, insurance companies want the government to force the rates that favor them onto your local health care providers. Government-mandated rate-setting would threaten hospitals in rural Iowa. This would hurt patients who are suffering from the severe flu-like symptoms of the coronavirus and need medical care fast. In the middle of a crisis, the last thing our state needs is fewer hospitals, which would cause treatment shortages and delays that put patients at risk.

But our state’s principled conservative leaders are a firewall to government rate setting. As a victim of surprise billing, I hope Senator Grassley joins forces with Senator Ernst in supporting the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act, a limited-government solution that empowers our state’s doctors and patients. This is our best chance to end surprise billing while protecting our neighborhood health care providers and rural patients.


  • Mary Warren