September 19 (WASHINGTON, D.C.)  Following the release of the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimates on the cost associated with an arbitration proposal included in H.R. 2328 – Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act, the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing urged Congressional leaders to prioritize reforms that would safeguard patients from exorbitant out-of-network charges and lower costs for families, employers and taxpayers.

“Each day that Congress fails to act, thousands of Americans will receive bankrupting surprise medical bills. These exorbitant and unfair charges are coming from out-of-network providers and private equity firms that have established a successful business model designed to exploit patients at their most vulnerable. This is unconscionable, and it’s time for Congress to act. The latest estimates from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirm that an arbitration model would amount to billions of dollars in hand-outs to private equity firms at the expense of patients and hard-working taxpayers. If Congress is serious about solving this urgent affordability crisis, it’s clear that a local, market-based benchmark tied to negotiated rates between health plans and providers delivers greater cost savings – $25 billion over ten years – while protecting patients from bankrupting out-of-network charges.”

“Ending surprise medical billing is a solvable problem and the choice for Congress is clear: it’s time to protect patients, not private equity firms. Arbitration is a failed policy that is designed to maintain the status quo and is a hand-out to those out-of-network providers who are responsible for these bills. A competitive, local benchmark is the best policy solution for patients and their families, and we urge policymakers to maintain this critical protection moving forward.”