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Ohio lawmakers propose bill they say will make health care costs more transparent

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Posted at 7:25 PM, Feb 15, 2023

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two Ohio lawmakers introduced a bill this week they said will make hospital prices more transparent and affordable.

There's already a federal law requiring hospitals to post standard pricing information online. Ohio Reps. Tim Barhorst (R-Wintersville) and Ron Ferguson (R-Fort Laramie) introduced a bill this week which would add this to state law, so the state could enforce it.

Ferguson said they want to eliminate surprises for people seeking health care.

"Make sure that when you go into a hospital, you know exactly what you're going to be paying for something and you know before you go," Ferguson said.

If a hospital is found to not be compliant with these price transparency rules, there would be limitations on collecting payment from patients, including:

  • Banning referring, assigning and selling medical debt to collectors;
  • Banning the use of the court system to get a judgment on outstanding medical debt and;
  • Filing a negative credit report against a patient for outstanding debt.

"This was my priority bill and this is really the reason I ran," Barhorst said.

The bill is modeled after a Colorado bill passed last year by a majority Democratic legislature. The sponsors of the Ohio bill said it's proof this is a bipartisan issue.

"I expect to have overwhelming bipartisan support for this," Ferguson said.

The sponsors said there are 30 Republicans signed onto the bill so far. It hasn't been assigned a number or to a committee yet, but the sponsors hope once it does make it into a committee and get a hearing, Democrats will get behind it, too.