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State Legislators Propose 'Free Market Solution' to Surprise Medical Bills

a photo of state legislators
Rep. Adam Holmes (R-Nashport, center) talks about his "surprise billing" bill along with Reps. Jim Butler (R-Oakwood. left), Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) and Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton).

Several Ohio House Republicans are backing a bill that they say is a ”free market solution” to surprise medical billing, when patients get unexpected big invoices from out of network providers after visiting an in-network hospital or health care facility. 

“Surprise medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in Ohio," Rep. Adam Holmes (R-Nashport) says.

Holmes says this doesn’t regulate billing, but creates options for out-of-network providers, such as anesthesiologists or ER doctors to choose to be paid the in-network rate, to negotiate a different rate or go to a third party for “baseball style” arbitration with the insurer. But he says the patient is protected.

“No fault for patients," he says. "That’s the number one thing that we’re going to get out of this and end the surprise bills.”

Holmes says he’s willing to take this idea to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who had vetoed a surprise billing provision in the state budget, saying it could duplicate federal efforts on that issue.