December 23, 2019
House and Senate Leaders Expand Surprise Medical Billing Investigation
On Dec. 19, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (OR-02), as well as Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) expanded an investigation into surprise billing practices to include physician staffing and health insurance companies.
In formal communications to several top insurers and physician staffing companies, the lawmakers requested documentation and information on billing practices and policies when a patient receives care from an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility, which results in a surprise medical bill. The letter said the requested information aims to provide Congress with a better understanding of the causes of surprise medical bills as well as the current incentives for negotiations between providers and insurers.
The inquiries build on an investigation launched in September by House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders into private equity firms and their role in surprise billing activities and the rising costs of health care. The investigation is ongoing.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to find a solution to surprise medical bills and remains committed to protecting patients from surprise medical bills by keeping them out of the middle and establishing a fair payment mechanism.
Read more on the current proposals in Congress to address surprise medical bills here.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee statement on the investigation can be found here.