Rural group asks Congress to fight health care rate setting


The Oklahoma Rural Association has expressed concerns about health care to members of the Oklahoma Congressional delegation, pointing out the situation has only worsened with the slowdown in the oil and gas industry in the state.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Senators and Representatives, Monica Collision, Executive Director of the Association voiced worried about the rising cost of healthcare and health insurance.

“We need to find ways to provide help and relief to rural Oklahoma. We need to stop the practice of rate-setting and solve the crisis of surprise medical bills,” she wrote.

Collision charged that rate setting in any form would allow the insurance companies to set the reimbursement rates paid to hospitals and doctors for “out of network” care.

“If given this monopoly power, you can rest assured the big insurers will use it to their exclusive advantage.  Hospitals’ razor thin operating margins evaporate, and doctors can’t afford to keep their practices open. The effect on rural communities, where hospitals are already in financial distress, would be especially devastating.”

She said Congress cannot let it happen and instead should pass Independent Dispute Resolution, an arbitration process for insurers and providers to fairly and equitably settle billing disputes.

“It’s already working in states like Texas. And perhaps most importantly, it holds patients completely harmless, ensuring they’ll never get caught in the middle and receive a surprise medical bill,” stated Collison in the letter.

“Additional and more severe shortages caused by government rate-setting would unquestionably harm these communities. I call on you to please help rural communities, especially those in Oklahoma during the struggles in the energy industry,” concluded Collison.

Source: Oklahoma Rural Association