Watchdog Praises House Ways & Means For Passing Bill to End Surprise Billing

Watchdog Praises House Ways & Means For Passing Bill to End Surprise Billing

For Immediate Release
February 12, 2020
Contact: Grace Morgan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) for passing a pro-patient solution to solve the pressing issue of surprise medical billing. Released on February 7, the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2020 would use a market-oriented mediation process known as arbitration to solve billing disputes between physicians and insurers while holding patients harmless for runaway expenses. Shortly after the legislation’s release, Chairman Neal and Rep. Brady emphasized the need to “minimize the burden on patients and keep the dispute resolution process neutral.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, the burden on taxpayers would also be minimized. The budget watchdog projects taxpayer savings of $17.8 billion over the next ten years if the bill is enacted. 

TPA President David William praised the proposal, noting, “for the millions of Americans facing a medical ordeal in one of America’s 7,200 hospitals, an endless barrage of surgeries and tests is bad enough without having to worry about the financial burden of a surprise medical bill. Surprise medical bills, totaling hundreds of even thousands of dollars, have become an issue because insurance networks are far too narrow thanks to onerous federal policies such as Obamacare.  This has left thousands of attending physicians out-of-network – and out of financial reach – for patients. Chairman Neal and Rep. Brady’s approach wisely avoids getting the government further involved in the healthcare system, allowing market forces to course-correct after decades of failed federal policies.”

Williams continued: “The legislation draws on the successful experiences of Florida and New York State, which have successfully used arbitration to resolve billing disputes between doctors and insurers without leaving patients in the lurch. Under this system, providers and insurers are free to submit competing claims to a neutral third-party with ample experience in the healthcare system, who can then determine the outcome based on multiple, relevant factors. The biggest winner from this process is patients, who have seen out-of-network billing drop by 34 percent and in-network ER costs fall 9 percent.”

Williams concluded: “Now is not the time for the government to double-down on failed healthcare solutions and fix prices for millions of patients and their doctors. California’s failed experiment in rate-setting has led to fewer healthcare options for patients and skyrocketing care access complaints. Yet, lawmakers such as Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) want to expand this disastrous approach nationwide. Patients across the country deserve real solutions and the Ways and Means proposal offers the only realistic path to ending the scourge of surprise billing.”