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That "surprise" medical bill that the US House and Senate were working on? It's been quietly stopped.
Then, in late July, a mysterious group called Doctor Patient Unity showed up. It poured vast sums of money — now more than $28 million — into ads opposing the legislation, without disclosing its staff or its funders.
Trying to guess who was behind the ads became something of a parlor game in some Beltway circles.
Now, the mystery is solved. The two largest financial backers of Doctor Patient Unity are TeamHealth and Envision Healthcare, private-equity-backed companies that own physician practices and staff emergency rooms around the country, according to Greg Blair, a spokesman for the group.
So since the First Amendment protects free speech let's take another approach.
"Surprise" out-of-network bills are consumer fraud. It is an intentional act taken in conspiracy by the hospitals, medical practitioners and the private equity groups such as Blackstone and KKR.
My view of it is this:
Stop it -- right now, and refund everything done to the public over the last decade -- or everyone involved gets charged with racketeering and conspiracy to defraud not only consumers but insurance companies. Given the amount of money involved (tens of billions a year) this should easily generate some nice decade-long slam-slam time for hospital administrators, private equity firm directors and officers along with the doctors that go along with it.
Don't like that idea? I have some less-lawful ones too, especially when this sort of bull**** comes out of shady lobbying organizations buying ads that are intentionally deceptive and, in addition, hide their funding origins.
But I'd much prefer to see the legal alternatives so long as hard, felony criminal time is involved.
Thus bullcrap must be stopped.