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LETTER: Congress, Nevada and surprise medical bills

Accessing affordable, reliable health care can be a daunting task in Nevada. Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford can make health care more affordable and accessible by tackling surprise medical billing.

Surprise medical billing hits patients after they have been treated for illnesses or injuries. Even if they’ve done all they can to ensure they are seen by in-network providers, patients are left responsible for bills not covered by their insurance.

Under a benchmark approach being considered in Washington, the government would use highly biased data from insurance companies to determine rates paid to physicians. This gives large insurance companies greater authority and would threaten vital access to care, especially in rural communities. California has seen narrowed networks and increasingly limited access to care under a benchmark system.

The only solution that will work for all parties is independent dispute resolution. It offers a transparent framework for insurers and providers to negotiate individual billing disputes based on data that considers a broad range of factors.

Reps. Lee and Horsford should fight for such a bill in Congress. The sooner it passes, the better off all patients will be.

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