Greg Walden Talks Health Care on KOBI
Click here or on the image above to watch the interview.
Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) recently appeared on KOBI's 5 on 5 and discussed his efforts to stop surprise medical billing and combat the opioid epidemic.
Walden started the interview off by talking about his efforts to hold patients harmless and end surprise billing. While Oregon has already passed legislation to stop this senseless practice, Oregonians are still at risk of encountering surprise medical bills if they end up in the emergency room outside of Oregon.
"If you go in for a procedure now in some hospitals that may show up under your insurance, they may have contracted out a portion of the facility within their hospital that shows up as covered by your insurance," said Walden. "That happened to Sonji Wilkes out of Denver, Colorado. Newborn had a medical problem. They wheeled the kid into the neonatal intensive care unit. Hospital is covered, guess what? They had contracted out their neonatal intensive care unit. He got healed up. She got a $50,000 bill. That’s outrageous, that’s the kind of thing we are trying to stop."
Walden introduced the No Surprises Act to put an end to the practice of surprise medical billing. The legislation has unanimously passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee and awaits action from the full House.
After discussing surprise billing, Walden went on to highlight his efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. He noted that his bill the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was signed into law last October. This bill provided the most historic effort from Congress to combat the epidemic.
"We are continuing on with the investigation and following up with the recommendations that have been made by the inspector general on things that the DEA -- Drug Enforcement Administration -- should have done, can do, and should do to make sure they are now doing it, said Walden. "I had to threaten the Attorney General of the United States with a subpoena in order to get data out of the DEA to find out how these pills were being distributed, why they weren’t being shut down by the distributors."
Walden added that last Congress, while he was the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, they got all the CEOs of the distribution companies before the committee and had them agree under oath to figure out what broke apart and how this happened.
"We are going after it. And then of course there is litigation to go after reclaiming profits, if you will, from Purdue Pharma who was one of the worst, and others."