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State Senate Passes Bill To Require Clearer Hospital Billing

Duke University Hospital
Duke Medecine
/

Senate lawmakers have passed a bill that would allow patients to compare prices for medical procedures.
Senate Bill 473 would require hospitals to make the cost of common inpatient and outpatient procedures public.

Under the measure, they would be required to release that information to the Department of Health and Human Services, which would then make it publicly available. Senator Bob Rucho is a sponsor of the bill.

"And understand, this is a first step that we in North Carolina are making forward in trying to get control of the cost of healthcare, but in the long run we will receive a huge benefit from this," said Rucho.

Different hospitals in the state often charge patients strikingly different fees for the very same services.

The bill would also ban extreme forms of bill collecting including wage garnishment for patients who receive treatment at public hospitals. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the House.

 

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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