Elected leaders have a duty to serve their constituents fairly and transparently. I was taken aback when I heard the news about Congress hiding surprise medical billing legislation within an unrelated bill. I am writing today to strongly urge our Congressional delegation to allow surprise medical billing proposals to be debated on their own merit.

As someone who has dealt with several medical issues personally, I know the shock of receiving those bills, especially when you believe your health insurance is adequately covering you. These are unwelcome and potentially devastating revelations. We need a better system that does not put patients in the crosshairs.

Surprise medical billing is a far-reaching issue that ought to be well thought out and debated fiercely. Trying to take this issue on through an amendment to an unrelated measure not only minimizes an important issue, but also ignores the citizens and patients who have been subject to surprise bills. Their voices ought to be heard — and our leaders owe it to us to listen, and give us the best possible solution.

I know what it is like to take on tough issues. As legislators, we have faced some challenges in Augusta and we dealt with them. It is time for Congress to do the same.

Surprise medical bills are a critical issue to the American people and need to be treated as such. With multiple solutions on the table, rigorous debate is the way to find the best option. Elected leaders owe us nothing less.

Rep. Bruce Bickford, Auburn

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