Inclusion of Arbitration Provision in Energy & Commerce Legislation Would Be A Hand-Out to Private Equity At Patients’ Expense

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing, whose members include leading organizations representing employers, health insurance providers and health organizations, strongly opposes the inclusion of a fatally flawed arbitration provision as part of the Energy & Commerce Committee’s mark-up of surprise billing legislation. The Coalition’s full statement is included below:

“The last-ditch effort to impose a costly, bureaucratic and ill-designed arbitration provision on millions of Americans strikes at the core problem of surprise medical billing – it’s a shell game exploiting patients when they least expect it. The arbitration amendment is a hand-out to the growing number of private-equity firms and certain providers that have free reign to take advantage of patients at their most vulnerable. Worse, the arbitration proposal would increase patients’ health insurance premiums, drive up the cost of medical care and even add to the federal deficit, according to a new Health Affairs analysis from researchers at Brookings – USC Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy. As the analysis noted, arbitration doesn’t fix surprise medical billing – it ‘mainly just punts the out-of-network rate setting decision’ to a third-party, leading to a process that adds complication, bureaucracy and roughly $1 billion in additional costs to the health system.”

“We strongly oppose this proposal and any arbitration provision that will incentivize the very price-gouging that has harmed so many people in the first place. We urge Congressional leaders to protect American families who can’t afford any more surprise medical bills by withdrawing this private-equity hand-out and advancing a fair, reasonable, local benchmark provision.”