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Decoding what hospitals charge and why

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Seventy-nine million Americans are struggling to pay off their medical bills. Access to quality, cost-friendly health care is largely to blame. Another factor is the lack of transparency about the cost of hospital services and Medicare coverage.  

In a recent report, the Rand Corporation found that people with private insurance are often paying more for procedures than people insured through Medicare. That difference is especially prominent for outpatient care.   

At President Trump's urging, Congress is debating a bill that appears to have bipartisan support. The proposed legislation would prevent surprise billing when a patient gets care from outside of their insurance network.  

MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with two healthcare experts about what it would take for hospitals to provide more transparent costs for treatment and what patients can do to avoid health care debt.

Guests:

Katherine Hempstead Senior Policy Advisor for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Dr. Ryan Neuhofel Family Physician and Owner of NeuCare Family Medicine

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.