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The Latest: Trump proposes end to 'surprise medical bills'

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President Donald Trump speaks during a event on medical billing, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a event on medical billing, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's effort to limit "surprise medical bills" (all times local):

1 p.m.

President Donald Trump is ratcheting up pressure on the pharmaceutical industry to lower prices and announcing a new effort to end "surprise medical bills" for patients with health insurance.

At a White House event Thursday on medical billing Trump also lent support to state efforts to import lower-priced prescriptions from countries where governments set the price. The U.S. drug industry has successfully fought off such moves for more than 20 years.

The Florida legislature recently passed legislation that would authorize a state importation program, subject to federal approval. Trump said that might happen.

He said the U.S. "may allow states to buy drugs from other countries if they can buy them for lower prices."

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12:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says it's time to end "surprise medical bills," which can leave insured patients facing sticker shock from charges submitted by doctors outside their insurers' networks.

Trump spoke at the White House on Thursday to lend his support to efforts by Republican and Democratic lawmakers. White House aides outlined a set of principles for legislation.

Trump was joined by a heart attack patient who got a $110,000 bill even though he had health insurance and by another patient who was charged $17,850 for a test that would have cost $100 in her insurer's network.

Trump says he thinks legislation can move quickly and "Democrats and Republicans can do this."

Insurers form networks of doctors and hospitals, in part, to gain leverage for negotiating reimbursements. Usually patients pay a bigger share of the bill for any care sought outside those networks.

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10 a.m.

President Donald Trump wants to limit "surprise medical bills," the unexpected charges faced by insured patients when a member of a health care team that treated them is considered an out-of-network provider.

Senior administration officials tell The Associated Press the Republican president on Thursday will outline principles he can support as part of legislation to limit such billing practices. Republican and Democratic lawmakers have expressed interest in crafting legislation to tackle the subject.

Insurers form networks of doctors and hospitals, in part, to gain some leverage for negotiating reimbursements. Usually patients pay a bigger share of the bill for any care sought outside those networks.

The administration officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter before Trump's announcement.

Associated Press

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