August 24, 2020 In the News

Surprise medical bills focus of Shaheen’s latest campaign ad

Union Leader
By Kevin Landrigan
August 24, 2020

CONCORD — A Rye woman’s battle over a surprise medical bill she received was featured in U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s latest campaign ad.

Kathy Cavallaro said after she had emergency surgery in January 2019, she got a bill asking that she pay $5,000 because the surgeons treating her weren’t in the network of her health insurance plan.

“I got a bill for an extra $5,000. We went to Jeanne Shaheen, and she got the bill reduced,” Cavallaro said in the 30-second commercial.

Shaheen worked with a bipartisan group of senators on legislation to eliminate surprise medical bills.

President Donald Trump supported the effort as did House leaders from both political parties.

In response, health care executives last year mounted a $30 million ad campaign against the measure.

The legislation stalled as House and Senate negotiators were unable to agree on the best way to mediate disputes over these bills.

Health care provider groups strongly fought the way the Senate and House bills would have relied on setting a federal benchmark payment rate to settle billing disputes, arguing it gave insurers too much leverage and would lead to doctor shortages.

“They put profits first; Jeanne Shaheen puts people first,” Cavallaro said, referring to the opposition on this issue.

Shaheen said she’ll continue to push for this reform.

“Jeanne Shaheen is working across the aisle to protect New Hampshire families from predatory Wall Street firms who are profiting off their most significant health care challenges. When these companies tried to scare Jeanne Shaheen away from trying to end surprise medical bills, she made it clear that she would not be intimidated,” campaign manager Harrell Kirstein said in a statement.

“Granite Staters know they can count on Jeanne Shaheen to make a difference for them whenever they contact her with a problem, and she will continue her efforts to stop surprise medical billing once and for all.”