Washington, D.C. – As part of a unified voice of employers, unions, patient and consumer groups as well as health plans calling for new federal safeguards, the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing welcomed UNITE HERE, National Business Group on Health, Pacific Business Group on Health, and Public Sector HealthCare Roundtable to its growing membership.

Building on growing consensus across the country, the Coalition and its members are strongly urging Congressional leaders to implement a fair, local, market-based benchmark that would protect patients and lower costs for families and taxpayers and reject arbitration proposals that would give a green light to certain out-of-network providers to continue charging exorbitant rates for care.

“Surprise medical bills can bankrupt working families,” said D. Taylor, International President of UNITE HERE. “It’s irrational to expect a patient experiencing a life-threatening emergency to deliberate over their coverage options, which is why we support the Coalition’s efforts to protect patients from sky-high bills and end the problem once and for all.”

“Surprise medical billing is a major issue facing employees and their employers today,” said Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. “We stand with the Coalition and urge lawmakers to reject arbitration proposals that would ignore the real problem and make the process more costly and less transparent for business owners, employees and their families.”

“Employers are concerned about arbitration proposals that would lock in high prices, incentivize price increases and guarantee payment regardless of value,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, President and CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health. “We are proud to join the Coalition to advocate for a fair benchmark that would protect consumers from surprise medical bills and hold down the overall costs of care for employers, patients and taxpayers.”

“Surprise medical billing can cause direct and debilitating harm to public sector employees, retirees and their dependents,” said Tom Lussier, Administrator of Public Sector HealthCare Roundtable. “We are pleased to build on the coalition’s important work and we look forward to advancing solutions that will stop the price-gouging and protect hardworking public sector families.”

This month, the Coalition launched a multi-million dollar state advocacy campaign to mobilize patients and community leaders around the need for a local, market-based benchmark solution to surprise medical bills. This ongoing effort builds on the Coalition’s advocacy work in Washington, D.C. to protect patients against sky-high charges from some providers backed by private equity firms that take advantage of patients at their most vulnerable.