• November 21, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time is now to act on health care - Odessa American: Letters To Editor

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time is now to act on health care

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Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2019 6:45 am

For families in West Texas, it’s hard enough to access quality, affordable health care. The matter of surprise medical billing just makes things worse. Lawmakers need to rectify this situation and protect the hardworking men and women in our area that help fuel a strong Texas economy.

While Texas has its own law to address surprise medical billing, it doesn’t go far enough and leaves many Texans still exposed. That’s why Congress must step in and take action. However, it’s just as important that they take the right action—one that protects the oil industry workforce as well as rural health care. Sadly, a proposal known as benchmarking, which is part of some bills in Congress and in the law that they have passed in California, would threaten both.

Benchmarking would let the government set artificially low rates for physicians, passing huge losses onto hospitals and emergency rooms. Especially in rural, West Texas communities, these health care facilities are struggling as it is. Benchmarking could force many of them to shut down entirely, cutting off access to care for thousands of workers.

Congress should pass a bill that includes independent dispute resolution. This approach would let doctors and insurers settle disagreements over out-of-network payments through a transparent, arbitration process. That way rates are fare and adequate enough to support local hospitals, protecting access and affordability for Texas families.

Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz need to stand up for working Texas families and help ensure Congress passes a strong, IDR-based bill that ends surprise billing once and for all.

Thank you.

Odessa, TX

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