Washington, D.C. – With millions of patients still facing the threat and fear of a surprise medical bill from out-of-network providers, the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing launched a new six-figure advertising and advocacy campaign to make sure Congress prioritizes market-based surprise billing reforms as part of any final end-of-year legislative package.
Members of the Coalition, including leading employer groups, union members and health insurance providers, have advocated for comprehensive patient protections against surprise medical bills, including fair, market-based payments for out-of-network services. These essential protections, included as part of the Lower Health Care Costs Act and passed by the Senate HELP Committee, are fundamental to achieving broad consumer safeguards, including for those with employer-sponsored coverage.
The latest advertising push comes after private equity firms have continually interfered and blocked patient protections that would safeguard more than 100 million Americans from unfair, exorbitant surprise bills. While Congress and the Administration have taken steps to shield patients from surprise bills specifically for COVID-19 testing and treatment, patients can’t afford to wait any longer for comprehensive protections. By allowing private equity-backed specialists to game the system, Americans are paying $40 billion more each year for their care.
By establishing fair, market-based payments for out-of-network services, patients won’t have to fear an unexpected bill in an emergency or from a provider they didn’t choose. American taxpayers will also see $25 billion in savings over the next decade. Importantly, these reforms have a track record of success, including in California where the state prohibited surprise bills, expanded provider networks and ensured access to affordable in-network care for its residents.
These patient reforms stand in stark contrast to the flawed policies pushed by private equity-backed providers that amount to a costly shell-game for consumers. By pushing for a massive federal arbitration system, private equity firms and out-of-network providers are looking to exploit new market loopholes at the expense of higher medical costs and higher insurance premiums for patients.
Congress has the opportunity to do the right thing for patients. Passing federal legislation that protects consumers from surprise medical bills, lowers their costs and ensures providers are paid fair, market-based payments for out-of-network care would realign the system in the best interests of American families.