JUNE 26, WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following today’s mark-up of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019 in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing issued the following statement:

“We commend the leadership of Chairman Alexander, Sen. Murray and the Senate HELP Committee for their efforts to protect millions of Americans from egregious, unfair surprise medical bills. The Title I reforms included as part of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019 would expand essential consumer protections to more than 181 million Americans who receive their insurance through employer-sponsored coverage and would establish a fair, market-based approach to reimbursement of out-of-network charges that would lower costs for consumers, employers and taxpayers.”

“As Congress looks to put an end to surprise medical billing, we urge policymakers to maintain the essential safeguards included as part of the Lower Health Care Costs Act. By establishing federal standards to protect patients from surprise out-of-network charges in emergency situations or in cases where the patient was unable to confirm the network status of an attending doctor or specialist, the Lower Health Care Costs Act would prevent providers from taking advantage of patients at their most vulnerable.”

“By establishing a fair, market-based benchmark based on in-network services in the same area, the Lower Health Care Costs Act would allow patients to continue to benefit from competitive, negotiated rates while maintaining fair and adequate reimbursement for providers, particularly in rural communities. Preliminary estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that a federal benchmark would deliver $25 billion in health savings over 10 years, providing meaningful cost savings to American families.”

“Eliminating the financial hardship from surprise medical billing requires Congress to avoid costly, bureaucratic arbitration proposals that would only exacerbate the problem we are working to solve. We urge Congressional leaders to maintain these bipartisan protections moving forward and ensure they are included as part of the final legislation. We forward to working with all members and the Trump Administration to ensure Americans are protected.”