There’s been a whole lot of talk – and a little bit of action – concerning surprise bills recently. Vox and Kaiser Health News, the latter in partnership with NPR, initiated these conversations by shining a light on so-called “balance billing” with their respective hospital ER bills and bill of the month series. When President Trump called for action to address the issue, he cited individuals whose eye-opening stories were initially told through these outlets.

Shortly thereafter, both the House and the Senate released proposals; the House’s “No Surprises Act” requiring that patients be told beforehand whether a provider is in- or out-of-network and prohibiting emergency departments (EDs) from issuing balance bills to patients, and the Senate’s instituting a third-party arbitration process to negotiate costs.

The problem with these bills is that they are too narrow. We need systemic change, not point solutions.

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