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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Thursday sided with insurers over physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers, choosing the approach they prefer for resolving disputes over surprise medical bills.

Congress last year passed a landmark law to protect patients from getting large, unexpected bills in emergencies and non-emergency situations where patients can’t choose their doctors. But many of the controversial details of its implementation were left to the Biden administration. The law barely passed after an all-out, yearslong lobbying war between health care providers and insurers.


At issue is a process that allows health care industry players to resolve fights over how patients’ bills should be settled while ensuring the patient isn’t caught in the middle. There could be significant sums at stake, depending on how those disputes are resolved.

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