Below is an excerpt from Politico
Health groups revealed behind dark money campaign to sink ‘surprise’ billing fix
A group calling itself Doctor Patient Unity has spent nearly $30 million on a campaign designed to kill the leading congressional legislation that would make it harder for hospitals and doctors to spring massive, unexpected bills on patients.
Its funding source has been secret thanks to the rules surrounding this “dark money” group, but multiple sources tell POLITICO that doctor staffing firms Envision Healthcare and TeamHealth are significant sponsors — showing just how powerful corporate medicine has become in trying to derail changes to a system that has put thousands of Americans in debt.
The group emerged shortly before Congress’ August recess and began running $28.6 million in ads targeting prominent lawmakers, according to Advertising Analytics, an independent tracking firm. The goal was to stop legislation that would hold insured patients harmless for sometimes staggering bills for out-of-network care by setting federal rates to resolve billing disputes. Both the Senate health and House Energy and Commerce committees have passed versions of this policy.
The two health staffing companies have both previously been accused of shifting the cost of uncompensated care in billing disputes to patients. Both say that’s no longer the case and that they support a federal solution to surprise billings. But they don’t like the congressional panels’ approach, which they call government “rate-setting.”
Ending surprise bills, a big concern for voters of all stripes, was viewed as one of the only health issues in Congress with bipartisan appeal and the backing of the Trump administration.
Everyone agreed that a patient who followed the rules and went to an in-network hospital shouldn’t get slammed with enormous bills because he or she ended up with an out-of-network provider, such as an emergency physician or anesthesiologist. But insurers, employers, doctors and hospitals from the beginning have vigorously fought over how to solve the problem and who should pay.
Two sources affiliated with Doctor Patient Unity confirmed that Envision Healthcare and TeamHealth are funding a portion of the $28.6 million campaign that runs from July 30 to Sept. 17 in states including Alabama, California, Colorado and New Hampshire, according to Advertising Analytics. The sources wouldn’t say who else is involved but confirmed the two companies are funders.
Read the full story at Politico.