May 10, 2019
ASA Responds to Trump Administration’s Principles on Surprise Medical Bills
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) strongly supports addressing “surprise medical bills.” We share the concerns of the Administration about patients receiving unanticipated bills from out-of-network providers and we look forward together to address this issue using successful, existing solutions.
Physician anesthesiologists recognize being a provider in their patients’ health plans is better for patients, easing both expenses and paperwork burdens. Most physician anesthesiologists are in-network and want to be a part of their patients’ health plans. Indeed, over 90% of anesthesiologist’s claims are in-network. However, we understand that patients remain concerned about bills for services from out-of-network providers and changes are necessary. ASA commends the Administration for its study of this issue and its work to develop solutions.
ASA believes policymakers should look at solutions that have already been thoroughly studied, debated and successfully implemented. The four-year-old New York State law effectively protects patients from surprise bills by holding them harmless while creating a functional mechanism that allows providers and insurers to resolve disputes equitably and efficiently. The law also supports ensuring adequate networks of providers for patients to access. The Administration’s “single bill” proposal is untried and fundamentally changes physicians’ relationships with hospitals and insurance companies. It could be disruptive to hospital-based health care.
“We appreciate the Administration’s goals of protecting patients and creating greater transparency within the health care system regarding health plans and costs for care,” said ASA President Linda J. Mason, M.D., FASA. “We fully endorse those goals and we believe they can be achieved with federal policymakers looking to known, successful state models already in place.
ASA looks forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to pass legislation that addresses surprise medical bills.