Nevada Lawmaker Not Giving Up on Surprise Medical Bills

Nevada Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton “changed strategies after a decade of negotiations with hospitals and insurance companies have failed to produce a statewide ban on surprise medical bills,” the Associated Press reports.

After 14 years of working on the issue, Carlton said it is now time for voters to weigh in on a proposal to cut out-of-network hospital costs.

If lawmakers approve the proposal this year and again in 2019, Assembly Joint Resolution 14 would ask voters in 2020 to cap the amount that insured patients could be charged out of network at 150 percent of the Medicare or other federal reimbursement rate.

Carlton introduced the ballot proposal after talks with hospital representatives and insurance companies to cap out-of-network costs through regular legislation came to a standstill earlier this month.

Patient advocates want to make rates as affordable as possible, while hospitals worry about charging enough to cover their overhead costs and incentivizing insurers to negotiate with them.

Unless all sides can agree on a solution, Carlton said she will continue to pursue the referendum.