JULY 11, WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s mark-up of H.R. 3630 “No Surprises Act”, the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing issued the following statement:

Out-of-network providers continue to take advantage of patients when they are at their most vulnerable. It’s not just the surprise from out-of-network bills that is unconscionable – it’s also the cost. Because there are no federal protections to safeguard more than 100 million Americans, out-of-network providers can demand a blank check from patients with charges that far exceed negotiated rates for the same service provided in the same market.”

“We applaud Chairman Pallone, Ranking Member Walden, Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. Michael Burgess and the Energy & Commerce Committee for taking an important step in advancing meaningful, common-sense proposals that would protect consumers, employers and taxpayers. The inclusion of a local, benchmark rate is critical for protecting patients from higher health care premiums. This policy will allow consumers to benefit from competitive, market-based rates that reflect the cost of care in the local community while also providing stability and predictability for employers and employees’ health care costs.”

“Not surprisingly, patients have already seen the benefit of the benchmark first hand. In California, a year after implementation of the state’s payment benchmark, at least one health plan has seen a 6 percent increase in the number of ancillary providers it contracts with at acute care facilities. A benchmark based on local market rates will ensure providers are reimbursed at fair, competitive levels while providing access to affordable care for consumers.”

“We urge the Committee and Congress to stop bad actors who continue to exploit the system. Accepting proposals that allow out-of-network providers to price-gouge patients — as is the case with arbitration models — is the wrong approach and only incentivizes discriminatory pricing. It’s time for that to stop. We urge the Committee to maintain the safeguards included as part of H.R. 3630 and to protect patients from surprise medical billing the right way.”