Healthcare groups react to House surprise billing proposal

The outline of a forthcoming House proposal to end surprise medical bills has drawn mixed reactions from healthcare groups.

Here are four:

1. American Medical Association President-elect Patrice A. Harris, MD:

"The American Medical Association commends Reps. Raul Ruiz, MD, Phil Roe, MD, and the other co-sponsors of the Protecting People from Surprise Medical Bills Act for their efforts to address the impact that unanticipated medical bills can have on families. The outline released today represents a common-sense approach that protects patients from out-of-network bills that their insurance companies won't pay while providing for a fair process to resolve disputes between physicians and hospitals and insurers.  We look forward to working with these members as further details emerge."

2. American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons Washington Committee Chair Ann R. Stroink, MD:

"The nation's neurosurgeons are very concerned when patients receive unanticipated medical bills, particularly as Americans continue to struggle with rising healthcare costs.  With their legislation, [lawmakers] strike the right balance to protect patients from unanticipated medical bills for out-of-network care, while at the same time facilitating a process to quickly, efficiently and fairly resolve physician and health plan billing disputes."

3. American Society of Anesthesiologists President Linda Mason, MD:

"The approach to addressing the problem of surprise medical bills … is a fair proposal that puts patients first by holding them harmless from unanticipated bills. The proposal doesn't pick winners or losers but instead places the dispute where it should be — between the healthcare provider and the insurance company. I'm also pleased this proposal helps patients by providing greater transparency of their in-network providers while ensuring an independent dispute resolution system to resolve billing disputes."

4. American College of Emergency Physicians President Vidor Friedman, MD:

"Patients need a legislative solution to protect them when they have surprise gaps in their expected insurance coverage, and this proposal takes critical steps to do so by encouraging more transparency from insurance companies and making sure that patients can better understand the limitations of their insurance."

5. America's Health Insurance Plans:

"Patients should not receive a surprise bill for care they did not choose — or didn’t even know they received in the first place. And Americans shouldn't see their premiums go up because of the actions of a few specialty doctors.

"However, we do have concerns that this proposal relies on a costly and cumbersome system of dispute resolution that utilizes inflated charges of certain specialty providers to determine payment. These arbitrary rates bear no relation to the cost of care and this approach would likely lead to increased healthcare spending at a time we need solutions to reduce costs for patients." 


More articles on healthcare finance: 

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5 legislative updates on surprise medical bills

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