Earlier this month, employer groups and union leaders urged House and Senate leadership to prioritize comprehensive surprise medical billing reforms in the next COVID-19 package. Highlights from their letter are included below:

  • “As Congress works on the next COVID-19 relief bill, we hope you will include provisions to ensure all patients are protected from all surprise medical bills.”
  • “By aligning out-of- network reimbursement to local, privately negotiated amounts, Congress would address the root cause of the exorbitant surprise bills and lower health care costs for consumers, employers and taxpayers.”
  • “The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that on average, “1 in 5 in-network hospitalizations for pneumonia (one common complication of COVID-19) could result in at least one surprise bill from an out- of-network physician or other provider.”
  • “Additionally, private equity firms see an increased financial opportunity in acquiring physician practices and then taking those providers out of network – due to much of the country’s elective health care services being cancelled or indefinitely postponed.”
  • “As Bloomberg recently reported, executives on a recent call with investors described the current pandemic as a ‘time to shine’ for private equity. Without a permanent solution to prohibit surprise bills coupled with market-based reimbursement, this increased consolidation, fueled by COVID-19, will drive up costs for patients, workers, and employers.”
  • “While many Americans are facing devastating economic conditions as a result of the pandemic, handing more money to private-equity firms is the last thing hard-working taxpayers can afford right now.”
  • “With tens of thousands of patients now seeking care for COVID-19 or rescheduling postponed elective procedures, many are unknowingly seeing out-of-network providers, or being forced to do so, because of increased demand. That makes it more important than ever for Congress to prioritize banning this abusive practice.”

Delaying action on surprise medical billing will only continue to put patients and their families at risk of facing exorbitant charges at a time when Americans are already at their most vulnerable. It’s up to Congress to protect patients from surprise medical billing with fair, market-based rates.

To view the full letter, click here.