Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy on Social Security bankruptcy, surprise medical billing

Greg Hilburn
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a new law by Republican Louisiana U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy to prevent predatory surprise medical billing stopped 2 million such bills in the first two months of 2022.

"I'm over the moon about the impact," Cassidy said in an interview with USA Today Network. 

Cassidy said surprise medical bills totaling thousands or 10s of thousands of dollars have bankrupted countless patients who were unaware some aspect of their treatment was coming from out-of-insurance-network doctors or diagnostic services.

 The "No Surprises Act" authored by Cassidy and Democratic New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan was implemented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 1, 2022.

Bill Cassidy

"Too often patients have been blindsided by surprise medical bills, sometimes for tens of thousands of dollars," Cassidy has said. "This is a victory for them.”

The law prevents surprise bills from both emergency and non-emergency care. One in five people undergoing elective surgery received surprise bills, according to a previous study.

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Cassidy said it removes patients from the middle of any disputes between insurers and healthcare providers by requiring providers and insurers to settle disputes or request arbitration without holding the patient responsible.

Patients who believe they are victims of surprise medical bills should contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-985-3059 or the Louisiana Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300.

Information: https://www.cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers

Will Social Security be broke in 12 years?

Cassidy said the latest report from the trustees of the Social Security trust fund show the program will be insolvent by 2034.

"In 12 years there's not going to be enough money to pay full benefits to seniors," said Cassidy, who said current law would require 24% to 36% cuts to benefits if Congress and the Biden Administration don't act.

"We're headed for a financial cliff," he said. "This is a crisis that needs more attention."

Pain at the pumps intensifies

Cassidy blamed President Biden's energy policies for contributing to record gas prices at the pumps.

"America is seeing gas prices setting new record highs nearly every day," he said. "Americans need relief but (Biden) is treating it more like a PR issue."

Cassidy listed Biden's policies to limit drilling on public lands and waters and halting the Keystone Pipeline as examples of "strangling American producers' ability to produce more energy."

"They can ease prices tomorrow by unleashing American production," Cassidy said.

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.