The Star-Herald

We need a solution for medical expenses

To the editor:

As Congress returns to work again, taking up the issue of surprise medical bills will present itself. I hope our leaders, like Senator Susan Collins, will hold insurance companies accountable for their role in this problem. 

I have heard from many constituents that they, or their family members who were patients, get unexpected bills because insurers refuse to reimburse out-of-network hospitals or doctors for emergency care — like an ER visit — where patients may not have the flexibility to find an in-network provider. When insurance companies refuse to reimburse those expenses, patients are left paying the tab. 

Insurance companies understand how to maximize their profits, so proposals that regulate how much providers can charge insurance companies will not work. Insurance networks will simply get smaller, and doctors will go out of business, making important (and sometimes life-saving) medical care less available. For Mainers and particularly Aroostook County, this is not good news or a solution to the healthcare problem.

Rather than trying to fix rates, Congress must create transparency regulations and billing resolution systems that hold insurance companies accountable — and leave the patients out of it. Dedicated professionals that provide medical services in rural Maine and the hospitals that serve our communities, provide quality care. They did their jobs in good faith, with the understanding that they would be paid. 

I ask Senator Collins to be the champion she has proven to be for the people she represents and cares about, and I thank her in advance for her service.

Rep. Harold “Trey” Stewart
Assistant Republican Leader
Presque Isle

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