ASA endorses new proposal that protects patients from surprise medical bills

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) proudly endorses the comprehensive proposal the "Protecting People from Surprise Medical Bills Act" released today that protects patients from surprise medical bills – unanticipated bills from providers not in patients' insurance network. ASA commends Representatives Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Van Taylor (R-TX), Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN), Donna Shalala (D-FL), and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) for this important legislation.

The approach to addressing the problem of surprise medical bills outlined by Congressmen Ruiz and Roe is a fair proposal that puts patients first by holding them harmless from unanticipated bills. The proposal doesn't pick winners or losers but instead places the dispute where it should be - between the health care provider and the insurance company. I'm also pleased this proposal helps patients by providing greater transparency of their in-network providers while ensuring an independent dispute resolution system to resolve billing disputes."

ASA President Linda Mason, M.D., FASA

A recent study found that more than 90 percent of claims filed by physician anesthesiologists are in-network and do not involve unanticipated bills from out-of-network providers. However, ASA believes additional work is necessary to address those small number of cases where patients receive surprise bills. ASA commends Reps. Ruiz and the cosponsors for their proposal based on the successful New York state model – a model with robust patient protections that removes patients from billing disputes and holds them harmless from surprise medical bills. The New York state model has been in place since 2015 and has reduced complaints related to surprise bills while also saving health care dollars.

During the ASA's annual fly-in last week, more than 600 physician anesthesiologists met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to advocate for a legislative solution aligned with this recent proposal. ASA leadership and staff have also been involved in several Congressional discussions about fair solutions to this issue.

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