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Arielle Kane

Biden Can Quickly Improve U.S. Health Care

Work with Congress to ban surprise bills, and all medical prices will come down.

This shouldn’t cost $2,000.

This shouldn’t cost $2,000.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

So many of the good health-care proposals that President-elect Joe Biden made during his campaign — to expand insurance subsidies, lower the Medicare eligibility age, create a national public insurance option — now appear difficult to achieve unless his party can, against the odds, take control of the U.S. Senate after two special elections in January. Even if Republicans hold that chamber, however, there is one important health-care policy change that should still be possible: a ban on surprise medical bills.

These infamous bills are the ones a patient receives from emergency room doctors, anesthesiologists, ambulance companies and other care providers outside the patient’s insurance network. They can come from out-of-network hospitals or from independent providers or laboratories working at an in-network hospital.