GOP, Dems team up to address 'surprise medical bills'
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GOP, Dems team up to address 'surprise medical bills'

WASHINGTON — Senior Republican and Democratic senators are proposing legislation to address the problem of surprise medical bills. Those are the shockingly high charges insured patients can get hit with when a hospital or doctor is not in their insurers’ network.

The proposal Thursday from Sens. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, and Patty Murray, a Washington state Democrat, is a break from the partisanship that threatens to paralyze the nation’s capital.

It also aims to lower prescription drug prices by discouraging pharmaceutical industry tactics that delay the launch of lower-cost generic drugs.

On surprise medical bills, the legislation would protect patients by limiting their financial responsibility to their own plan’s in-network rates. But lawmakers still have to figure out how hospitals, doctors and insurers would settle the costs among themselves.

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press

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