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Opinion: Rising Costs Continue To Impact Missouri’s Small Business Community

As an entrepreneur and owner of several franchised business operations in Missouri, our priority is investing in our local communities. Every day you’ll find our employees out in the community, working to better neighborhoods across our state.

Our employees are family, and as family, we want to ensure that they can access affordable healthcare, whether it be a regularly scheduled doctor’s visit or extensive treatment. This is why hospital conglomerates cheating our hard workers through dishonest billing is so upsetting. This shameful billing practice occurs when large corporate hospitals reclassify a doctor’s office that they own as a hospital setting. This allows them to charge hardworking Missourians an average of 14% more than the true cost of the care they’re receiving.

Hardworking Americans, already staring down historic inflation, simply can’t afford to keep up with more price hikes. This billing practice is an injustice, which is why we want to thank Rep. Aaron McMullen for bringing to the floor HB 1837 which stresses the importance of hospital transparency laws.

Transparency in pricing increases accountability, drives competition, and empowers patients with tools to make informed and cost-effective decisions about their healthcare. HB 1837 will give Missourians the power to hold hospitals accountable for failing to comply with federal law by imposing penalties for non-compliance.

But there’s more to be done. We can’t sit and watch these conglomerates to keep getting away with the same billing transgressions. We must be proactive and ensure that ending dishonest billing is at the forefront of Missouri’s legislative agenda. We need more than just hospitals disclosing increased costs – we need real action.

That action comes in the form of SB 986, sponsored by Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman. SB 986 will ensure that doctor’s offices are labeled as separate entities from hospitals, so no individual or family gets a dishonest hospital charge when receiving care in a doctor’s office.

Lawmakers in Jefferson City need to support Sen. Coleman’s bill and eliminate dishonest billing by Missouri hospitals. Health services are essential for our workers, but rising costs continue to impact Missouri’s small business community preventing growth and reinvestment in our communities. Why should we be forced to pad corporate hospitals’ bottom lines when our communities would benefit from those savings?

I call upon the Missouri General Assembly to stand with their constituents and ensure that HB 1837 and SB 986 are passed. A yes vote on HB 1837 and SB 986 will help drive down healthcare costs and allow Missouri’s communities and economy to flourish.