A recent legislative fight in California is a near-perfect illustration of why advocates of ambitious reform schemes like “” face such a daunting political task.

The battle was over how to protect patients from when they unwittingly get care from a doctor or hospital that isn’t part of their insurance networks.

The most common sources of surprise bills include emergency rooms and , because patients with urgent medical needs frequently don’t have the time or wherewithal to find network providers. When surprise bills come from physicians, it’s frequently an anesthesiologist or radiologist who is on hospital staff but doesn’t have a contract with the patient’s insurer.

The charges frequently go into five figures, causing real hardship and even financial

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