House committee calls off plans for surprise-billing vote

The House Education and Labor Committee has delayed a vote on surprise-billing legislation due to divisions among committee members, House aides and lobbyists told The Hill.

The committee planned to hold a markup this week on the legislation, the report states. However, the vote was called off as healthcare stakeholders spar over how lawmakers should address surprise medical bills that occur after patients unintentionally receive out-of-network care in emergency situations or at in-network hospitals.

The decision comes as lawmakers are considering various surprise-billing proposals, including the No More Surprises Act passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee in July. According to The Hill, the House Education and Labor Committee was slated to consider legislation like the No More Surprises Act this week. However, The Hill reported that some lawmakers want an approach that is fairer to physicians and hospitals. 

The primary debate around addressing surprise medical bills is how to resolve out-of-network payment disputes between insurance companies and physicians and hospitals. Two ideas under consideration are reimbursing providers based on federally set benchmark rates and using arbitration.  

It is not clear when a markup will be scheduled in the House Education and Labor Committee or when an agreement will be made among committee members, according to The Hill. Legislation is also being worked on in the Senate and the House Ways and Means Committee.  

 

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