During the second week of February 2020, the House of Representatives committees passed two more Surprise Medical Billing proposals, bringing a total of 4 different proposals into the spotlight. The proposed legislation offered by the Senate HELP and Energy & Commerce (E&C) Committees are most similar, Education & Labor mimics the E&C proposal with minimal differences. Thus far the only proposal to pass that is most favorable to patients is the Ways & Means committee, yet the bill still presents a Benchmark "solution" and fails to adequately ensure fair negotiation and participation in contracts between insurers and physicians.
Unfortunately, classic politics and power has suppressed the best proposal by Drs. and Reps. Ruiz & Roe, which has garnered more than 110 co-sponsors. Their proposal was not allowed to be heard in the Ways & Means or Energy & Commerce committees as Chairs and Ranking members of those committees refused to place their egos aside and bring any competition to their own Surprise Billing proposals. However, the Ruiz/Roe proposal remains the ideal solution, as it is modeled off of the successful New York State Legislation. Although their proposal may not be heard in committee, it should remain the basis for what a successful policy to address Surprise Bills that would not disrupt the health care safety net would contain and serve as a template for how the bills passed out of committees should be modified.
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