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Ban on Surprise Medical Billing Included in Lawmakers Spending Deal

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Congress has agreed on a ban on “surprise” medical bills as part of a major spending deal that lawmakers were finalizing on Sunday evening. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a joint statement, confirmed a surprise billing fix is part of the government funding deal, which also includes $900 billion in new Covid-19 relief, Politico reports.

The New York Times reports the language included in the $900 billion spending deal reached Sunday night and headed for final passage on Monday will make those surprise medical bills illegal. Instead of charging patients, health providers will now have to work with insurers to settle on a fair price. The new changes will take effect in 2022, and will apply to doctors, hospitals and air ambulances, though not ground ambulances.

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