The balance billing battle in California is nothing new; in fact, it has been going on for years now. However, there's been a lot of uncertainty as to how things would turn out. Now, California's Supreme Court has upheld the original law banning balance billing, making it less likely--though not impossible--that the practice will survive in the state.
As expected, the general reaction is split: insurance companies applaud the decision, while doctors give doomsday predictions about emergency rooms being completely put out of business.
Meanwhile, several observers noted that the ruling skirted the real problem that is at issue: Most doctors don't seem to want to actually charge their patients. In reality, observers suggest, they just see it as their last resort against being underpaid by insurance companies. And the ruling said nothing about establishing what was fair and reasonable pay.
To learn more about the ruling and reactions:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece
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