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End surprise bills after hospital stays

Studies show that 20% of Americans receive surprise

Studies show that 20% of Americans receive surprise medical bills. Credit: iStock

End surprise bills after hospital stays

The article “White House win on hospital transparency” [Business, June 25] does not address the entire problem. It’s not just about knowing costs, it’s expecting that everyone involved in your care will accept what your insurance plan will pay.

Many people, myself included, have gone into a hospital for surgery, planned and unplanned. We present our insurance cards as evidence of what we’re covered for. Afterward, the bills start coming in. Some are acknowledged copays but some are huge bills. Why? Balance billing is also known as surprise billing. Just because the hospital accepts your insurance does not mean everyone involved in your care does. Hospitals hire many providers — surgeons, anesthesiologists, labs, etc. — as independent contractors. Even if your doctor takes your insurance, they could send a specimen to a lab that does not accept your insurance.

Studies show that 20% of Americans receive a surprise bill. This has been a decades-long practice that, despite being addressed by Congress (of which 17 members are physicians) as late as December, continues to go unchecked. We may have no choice about needing medical care, but we should have the right to be served as per our insurance coverage.

Linda Behrman, North Merrick

Immigrants, their kids helped USA

Thank you, Lane Filler, for your column “Immigration cuts slash at U.S. core” [Opinion, June 24]. As you wisely pointed out, our ability to attract bright, talented people from all over the world is the biggest advantage we have over other nations.

In fact, more than 40% of Fortune 500 firms were founded or cofounded by immigrants or their children. Last year, about 80% of the Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists were from immigrant families. Immigrants are and have always been America’s lifeblood and saviors. They have fought our wars, built our cities and provided scientific and intellectual skill available nowhere else.

In 1924, the Ku Klux Klan and the Trump-like bigots of that era succeeded in closing our borders to Slavic, Jewish and Italian immigrants by passing the Immigration Act of 1924. Let’s stand up for real American values and make our immigrant ancestors proud by voting against the current crop of nativist demagogues in November.

Keith Rothman, Commack

Create museum of removable statues

All public monuments are erected to celebrate our best selves [“Smashing American idols,” Editorial, June 28]. Many are works of art. When history uncovers a dark side, the positive should not be destroyed. Rather, both the contributions and the failures of our ancestors should be equally memorialized through reinterpretation.

One way to settle debates surrounding public monuments that now cause more pain than inspiration is to create a national Museum of Removables. Through careful consideration of historical context and changing values, a Museum of Removables could become a major teaching moment, a popular destination and a tool for healing.

Mary Lou Cohalan, Bayport

Editor’s note: The writer is a former director of the Islip Art Museum.

Forget ‘free’ tuition — I’ll pay for college

A reader, in my view, incorrectly stated that Germany provides “free” college tuition and “free” health care while espousing the European model [“Don’t compare two generations,” Letters, July 15]. Let’s be honest: These programs are called free but are just paid for differently. Germany, like many other European countries, pays for these programs through much higher individual tax rates, which in some countries reach 55%.

With the election only a few months away, I’m hoping the presidential candidates provide quantitative facts as to how much their plans will cost and what will be the tax impact on everyone. This way, we can all make an informed decision when we vote. Personally, I would much rather plan and pay for my children’s education in the four years they attend college than be taxed every year of my 40-year career.

John McKeown, Massapequa Park

Schools should also get filtration systems

Science and data show that the coronavirus infection rate for children is low, yet schools also function with many adult employees. The government is requiring malls to install high-efficiency filtration systems to filter out the coronavirus [“Gov: Malls can open with efficient air filtration,” News, July 9].

Shouldn’t HVAC systems also be mandated and installed in schools? The coronavirus can be found in schools, not just in malls. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo knows this data and science. Selective mandating is not the answer to the virus’ containment.

Joe Campbell, Port Washington