Healthcare bills on track to become law during 2020 session

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Indiana lawmakers are on track to pass healthcare laws this session, one to end surprise billing and another to add transparency to healthcare prices.

The Indiana Hospital Association says it is pleased with the bills so far. IHA President Brian Tabor says he is watching them closely. He wants the state to take the patient out of the middle when it comes to surprise billing.

“We think the best approach is something that the state of New York has done, the state of Texas, it’s something that a lot of the leaders of Congress are looking at,” said IHA President Brian Tabor.

Tabor says patients should be treated as if the services were in-network, and then, the insurance companies and the health provider should come up with the cost.

“What we haven’t quite solved yet is, what is that mechanism through which the independent physicians that practice in hospitals throughout the state? How can they have a fair shake when it comes to sitting down with the insurance companies?” Tabor said.

Tabor stated he does not want the government to set rates for healthcare providers. However, he does think a third party arbitrator should be involved.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons fear government surprise billing regulations will hurt doctors and result in fewer options for care.

“Why would anybody go to work if you don’t know whether you are going to get paid? And in order to get paid, you have to fight with a bunch of people,” said M.D. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons said.

Orient predicts independent doctors will stop working if they have to jump through too many hoops.

“Do you as an American have the right to spend your own money to get lifesaving treatment or are you dependent on what will be available when the government slaps on all kinds of controls?” asked Orient.

IHA doesn’t think this is a government overstep. Tabor says it is necessary to protect patients from surprise bills that were not their fault.

“I think it can be done at the state level in a pretty efficient way," said Tabor. "So we wouldn’t be creating another government agency or a lot of oversight. It would just be a very simple process."

These bills are still being debated, but legislative leadership expects both measures to pass before the session ends in about five weeks.

“I feel good about it," said House Speaker Brian Bosma. "Our committees are working hard, and the bill authors and sponsors are working hard together, House and Senate are working hard together."

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