May 21, 2019
Bipartisan Senate Working Group Introduces Surprise Medical Bill Legislation as ASA Lobbies Capitol Hill
Last week, Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and colleagues introduced the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act, which aims to address the issue of surprise medical bills. ASA commends the Senator and the working group for its commitment to addressing a problem that can have a profound impact on patients and their families. The Cassidy proposal includes a provision for an interim payment by the insurer directly to the health care provider for the median in-network rate for the out-of-network services, less cost-sharing, and creates an independent dispute resolution (IDR) process for providers and insurers to resolve payment disputes.
Last week as part of ASA’s annual Legislative Conference, over 600 ASA members traveled to Capitol Hill to express support for ending “surprise medical bills” and for protecting patients from receiving unanticipated bills from out-of-network providers.
In meetings with lawmakers and staff, ASA members urged Congress to replicate existing, well-tested, successful state models. New York state has such a model. The New York state law ensures patients are put first, holding them harmless and removing them from the middle of out-of-network payment disputes. ASA believes that Senator Cassidy’s approach, which incorporates elements of New York’s law, is an important step forward in this debate. ASA intends to work to strengthen the proposal’s IDR process to ensure an appropriate balance between the interests of physician practices and insurance companies.
Other cosponsors of the introduced bill include members of the Senate Bipartisan Working Group, Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Todd Young (R-IN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Tom Carper (D-DE). Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
As part of the recent LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE 2019 ASA released a document detailing appropriate solutions to “surprise medical bills.”
Additional proposals are expected to be introduced in the coming days. Find out more about ASA’s principles to address surprise medical bills at asahq.org/surprisebills.