California takes on surprise bills, over hospital objections

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A proposal in California to limit exorbitant emergency room medical bills for patients with health insurance faces a key committee vote amid strong opposition from hospitals.

The bill by Assemblyman David Chiu would make sure patients in emergency rooms with health insurance never pay more than their copayments or deductibles, even if they are treated at a hospital outside of the network of their insurance company.

The proposal has strong opposition from hospitals because it would cap how much they can charge insurance companies in those situations. Supporters say the caps are needed to control health care costs. But California Hospital Association CEO Carmela Coyle calls it a giveaway for insurance companies.

The bill has cleared the Assembly and faces a key test in a Senate committee on Wednesday.

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