White House Set To Tackle Ambulance Ride Surprise Bills – Kaiser Health News

News outlets report on efforts to tackle unpredictable bills after taking an ambulance ride. The Biden administration is set as of January to kick off the work of a new advisory committee aimed at stopping the practice.
USA Today: Ambulance Rides Yield Surprise Medical Bills: What's Being Done?
When people dial 911, perhaps the last thing they think about is how much the ambulance ride will cost. But a report released Tuesday by U.S. PIRG Education Trust shows ambulance companies routinely bill out-of-network charges. This happens when an insurance plan's network doesn't include the public or private ambulance company. (Alltucker, 12/13)
The Washington Post: Surprise Bills From Ground Ambulances Is Next Up In The Move Toward Reform 
The Biden administration is set to kick off the work of a key advisory committee designed to help stop patients from getting hit with pricey surprise medical bills from ground ambulances, The Health 202 has learned. It took roughly two years for the new committee to get its start. But the panel’s meetings are now set to begin in the new year, with the first scheduled for Jan. 17-18. A critical report will be due 180 days later on how to prevent patients from owing hundreds of dollars for receiving out-of-network ambulance rides through no fault of their own. (Roubein and Beard, 12/13)
On drug pricing —
Stat: New Changes To Obamacare Generics Coverage Splits Industry
The Biden administration signaled Monday that it will require health plans on federal exchanges to cover more of the costs of generic drugs, a small tweak that nevertheless has industry groups divided on how best to manage drug costs. (Owermohle, 12/13)
Axios: Biden's Prescription Drug Pricing Decisions Aren't Over
The Biden administration faces a host of high-stakes decisions on prescription drug costs over the next several months, accompanied by pressure from congressional Democrats eager for a sequel to pricing components in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). (Owens, 12/13)
KHN: States Challenge Biden To Lower Drug Prices By Allowing Imports From Canada
The Biden administration is facing mounting pressure from states to let them import medicine from Canada to help lower prescription drug costs. Colorado on Dec. 5 became at least the fourth state to seek federal permission to use the strategy, following Florida, New Hampshire, and New Mexico. President Joe Biden has endorsed the approach, but his administration has yet to greenlight a state plan. (Galewitz, 12/14)
On medical debt —
CBS Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh City Councilman Introduces Proposal To Erase Medical Debt 
Pittsburgh City Councilman Bobby Wilson wants to help residents erase their medical debt. He's proposing that the city enters into an agreement with the national nonprofit "RIP Medical Debt." The city would "buy" your healthcare debt for pennies on the dollar and forgive it. (Damp, 12/14)
KHN: What Germany’s Coal Miners Can Teach America About Medical Debt 
Almost every day, Dr. Eckart Rolshoven sees the long shadow of coal mining in his clinic near the big brownstone church that dominates this small town in Germany’s Saarland. The region’s last-operating coal shaft, just a few miles away, closed a decade ago, ending centuries of mining in the Saarland, a mostly rural state tucked between the Rhine River and the French border. But the mines left a difficult legacy, as they have in coal regions in the United States, including West Virginia. (Levey, 12/14)
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