Washington, D.C. – After private equity firms blocked critical surprise billing protections for American patients last year, the overwhelming majority of voters — roughly 90 percent — want Congress to pass legislation that would protect more than 100 million Americans from these surprise charges, according to a new national poll commissioned by the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing and conducted by Morning Consult. The latest poll represents a clear mandate to Congress on behalf of American families and taxpayers to take comprehensive action against out-of-network providers and private equity firms that continue to game the system at the expense of patients.
Key highlights from the poll include:
- One in three (29%) voters report that they have personally received a surprise bill in the past two years, and three in five voters (59%) are concerned that the care they receive may be unknowingly out-of-network.
- Nearly nine in ten voters (86%) support Congress passing legislation that would protect patients from surprise medical bills, including 89% of Democrats, 86% of independents, and 82% of Republicans.
- 88% of voters say it is important for Congress to pass legislation that protects patients from surprise medical bills amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
- More than two-thirds of voters are concerned about the role private equity plays in surprise medical billing. After voters heard more about the role of private equity, 82% expressed concern over private equity’s impact and influence in surprise medical billing.
- More than three-quarters of voters (79%) support Congress passing legislation that would ban all providers from sending a surprise bill and would base payments on what other providers have negotiated with health insurance providers.
The poll reinforces patients’ fears about their ability to afford a surprise medical bill as the country continues to face the economic and financial consequences from the COVID-19 crisis. While Congress and the Administration have provided short-term protections against surprise billing for COVID-19 testing and treatment, many patients and employees have faced significant charges for their care from out-of-network providers who intentionally take advantage of the system.
The poll comes after more than 60 leading employer and union groups pushed Congressional leadership to make surprise billing a top priority in any year-end package.
The final weeks of the 116th Congress provide the best and most critical opportunity for lawmakers to pass comprehensive patient safeguards against surprise medical bills. As part of any federal reforms, policymakers must protect patients from higher health care costs by aligning out-of-network reimbursement with the payments other providers have negotiated with health insurance providers – part of the policies included in the Lower Health Care Costs Act and passed by the Senate HELP Committee.
To view the results from the poll, click here.