02.11.20

Ban Surprise Billing Act: What People Are Saying

WASHINGTON —Surprise medical bills – which are large, unanticipated out-of-pocket expenses that insured patients incur through no fault of their own – have a devastating financial impact on patients and their access to health care.  The Ban Surprise Billing Act (H.R.5800) is a bipartisan agreement to protect patients from surprise medical bills. Here’s what people are saying about this proposal:

23 Patient and Consumer Organizations“The Ban Surprise Billing Act offers robust protections for all patients in all health settings. Our organizations applaud the Education and Labor Committee markup of legislation that would protect patients from surprise medical bills. Importantly, these protections extend to patients covered by employer-sponsored plans, and they apply to patients transported carried by emergency air transportation.”

AARP: “On behalf of our members and all older Americans nationwide, AARP thanks you for holding a hearing to markup H.R. 5800, the Ban Surprise Billing Act. We are supportive of enacting safeguards to protect consumers against surprise bills from non-network providers who provide services without the consumer’s knowledge or consent in an otherwise in-network setting, and we believe this bill takes steps in the right direction to address the problem of surprise billing.”   

AFL-CIO: “On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to oppose amendments to the Ban Surprise Billing Act that would increase health care costs for working people.  As you are aware, polling shows that half of all U.S. households have experienced a surprise medical bill, and the Federal Reserve has found that 4 in 10 adults would have difficulty covering any emergency expense. Chairman Bobby Scott’s Ban Surprise Billing Act provides important consumer protections that will prevent most surprise bills from occurring – providing working families with confidence that they will not face unexpected expenses when they seek medical care.”

AFSCME: “On behalf of the members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), I applaud the committee for its work on the bipartisan "Ban Surprise Billing Act." This legislation protects patients against most egregious punitive balance medical bills while keeping overall health care costs in check with use of a market-based benchmark payment rate. This rate setting mechanism is important because it is not inflationary and will not lead to hikes in premiums or out-of-pocket costs for working families.”

American Health Policy Institute: “On behalf of HR Policy Association, I urge you to support the “Ban Surprise Billing Act” (H.R. 5800) to address surprise medical billing and oppose any amendments that would expand the use of arbitration, lower the arbitration threshold below $750, or weaken any transparency provision regarding the arbitration process…We also urge Congress to reject the “Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2020” because it has no limits on the potential to overuse and misuse arbitration and there are no real limits on arbitration awards.  Instead, Congress should enact the more sensible and effective solutions included the “Lower Health Care Costs Act” (S. 1895), the “No Surprises Act” (H.R. 3630), and the “Ban Surprise Billing Act” (H.R. 5800).”

 Families USA: The Education and Labor Committee’s bill would stop surprise billing for air ambulances, a critical win for rural families who are more likely to be hit with air ambulance surprise bills, which average more than $20,000 for a single ride.”

Laborers' International Union of North America: “The Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), a union proudly representing over 500,000 hardworking men and women, thanks Chairman Scott for offering legislation to address the important issue of surprise medical billing that will be marked up in the Ed & Labor Committee this week.  Chairman Scott's bill, which preserves the benchmark approach, is modeled on the bill already passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee, which allows for arbitration only in limited instances.  LIUNA asks that you put patients over Wall Street profits. To that end, LIUNA opposes any amendments to delete or lower the threshold for arbitration, or otherwise weaken the bill, that will harm our union's members and health care plans.

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