ASA applauds Committee efforts to amend surprise medical bill legislation

The American Society of Anesthesiologists applauds efforts by Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA) and Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) to amend surprise medical bill legislation as it passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee. While this amendment represented an important step toward improving the "No Surprises Act," ASA remains opposed to the Committee's flawed approach to addressing surprise medical bills and hopes the Committee will continue to make common-sense modifications to the bill that protect physicians and the patients served by ASA's members.

The alternate language that passed today as an amendment included the addition of a much-needed appeals process which starts to rebalance the bill between physicians and insurers. Additional changes to this process are required to fully assure the interests of front-line physicians are taken into consideration. ASA applauds the amendment's recognition of the level of training, education, experience, as well as the quality and outcomes measure of a physician, however, the continued use of the insurer-calculated and controlled median in-network rate effectively preserves the unfair default payment level.

ASA remains committed to finding a solution to surprise medical bills that balances the interests of physicians and insurers while holding patients harmless from unexpected costs. The amendments made to the No Surprises Act are an important step in the right direction but there are still too many provisions that represent a threat to physicians' practices and our ability to provide care to patients."

Linda J. Mason, M.D., FASA, ASA President

ASA also applauds passage of amendments to address concerns about the bill's high risk to rural and other underserved communities that already face challenges of health systems with limited numbers of physicians and other professionals, as well as amendments to examine network adequacy and the impact of the legislation on stakeholders. ASA supports continued adjustments to the No Surprises Act to protect patients while providing an appropriately sized solution to surprise medical bills. ASA continues to urge incorporation of principles found in H.R. 3502, the ASA-endorsed Protecting People From Surprise Medical Bills Act.

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