Some legal scholars say thatpatients should already be protected against some of the highestsurprise medical billing charges under longstanding conventions ofcontract law. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Joaquin Lopez had emergency gallbladder surgery after rushing to an ER last year. He has beenhaggling with Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis over what heowes ever since.

The 37-year-old college professor was hit with a nearly $8,000bill from the out-of-network hospital — that was after the$11,000 he and his insurer had already paid.

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