Senator Cassidy on medical billing, the Social Security ‘cliff’ and gas prices

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A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed Republican US Senator from Louisiana Bill Cassidy’s new law to prevent predatory surprise medical billing stopped 2 million such bills in the first two months of 2022.

“I’m thrilled with the impact,” Cassidy said in an interview with USA Today Network.

Cassidy said surprise medical bills totaling thousands or tens of thousands of dollars have bankrupted countless patients who were unaware that some aspect of their treatment was coming from out-of-network physicians or diagnostic services.

The “No Surprises Act” authored by Cassidy and Democratic U.S. Senator from New Hampshire Maggie Hassan was implemented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on January 1, 2022.

“Too often, patients have been caught off guard by surprise medical bills, sometimes for tens of thousands of dollars,” Cassidy said. “It’s a win for them.”

The law prevents surprise bills for emergency and non-emergency care. One in five people having elective surgery received surprise bills, according to a previous study.

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Cassidy said he is keeping patients out of the middle of any disputes between insurers and health care providers by requiring providers and insurers to settle disputes or seek arbitration without holding the patient accountable.

Patients who believe they may be victims of surprise medical bills should contact the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-985-3059 or the Louisiana Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300.

Information: https://www.cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers

Will Social Security be bankrupt in 12 years?

Cassidy said the latest report from the trustees of the Social Security trust fund shows the program will be insolvent by 2034.

“Twelve years from now there won’t be enough money to pay the full amount of elderly benefits,” said Cassidy, who said current law would require cuts of 24% to 36% in benefits if Congress and the Biden administration are not acting.

“We are heading for a financial cliff,” he said. “It’s a crisis that needs more attention.”

Push-up pain intensifies

Cassidy blamed President Biden’s energy policies for contributing to record gasoline prices at the pump.

“The United States is seeing gasoline prices set new records almost every day,” he said. “Americans need help but (Biden) treats it more like a PR issue.”

Cassidy cited Biden’s policies to limit drilling on public lands and waters and to shut down the Keystone pipeline as examples of “throttling the ability of American producers to produce more energy.”

“They can lower prices tomorrow by releasing American production,” Cassidy said.

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Louisiana Network. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.

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