US senator says she is 'not intimidated' by group targeting surprise-billing legislation

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said last week  that she is "not intimidated" by a secretive group that has launched an advertising campaign to stop a surprise-billing solution under consideration in Congress, according to TV station WMUR.

Her remarks refer to a "dark money" group calling itself Doctor Patient Unity. The group — which reportedly is backed by physician staffing firms Envision Healthcare and TeamHealth — began running $28.6 million in ads this year.

The ads are running in states with U.S. senators, such as Ms. Shaheen, up for re-election in 2020, according to WMUR. In the ads, Doctor Patient Unity says it is opposed to resolving out-of-network payment disputes by reimbursing providers based on federally set benchmark rates. It favors arbitration instead.

"This is an example of what happens when voters can't tell who's paying for ads because they're funded by dark money," Ms. Shaheen said in a statement issued by her office after The New York Times reported on the alleged involvement of Envision Healthcare and TeamHealth, according to WMUR.

"It causes a lot of confusion, but I trust that most Granite Staters recognize this for what it is: fear- mongering," Ms. Shaheen said.

Ms. Shaheen continued: "It's unfortunate that the voices of Granite Staters who are struggling to pay surprise medical bills can be drowned out by wealthy special interests that have a vested interest in putting profits over patients. But I don't care how many ads they run, how many mailers they send or how much dark money they spend. I’m not intimidated and am adamant that tackling surprise billing must remain at the top of Congress's to-do list."


More articles on healthcare finance: 

Debt-collection lawsuits from hospitals receive federal attention
6 hospitals hiring billing specialists
Physician staffing firms are behind $30M campaign to stop surprise-billing legislation, Politico says

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