Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) released legislative text of the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2020, the Committee’s proposal to better shield patients from bankrupting surprise medical bills. The members’ plan puts patients first by protecting the patient from balance bills, enhancing consumer protections, requiring greater transparency, and empowering patients with information about their health care costs. The Ways and Means approach recognizes the importance of the private market dynamics between insurance plans and providers, and it includes an independent mediated negotiation process to resolve billing disagreements.
In releasing the Ways and Means proposal, Neal and Brady said the following:
“Our bipartisan solution to end surprise medical bills will protect Americans from unexpected financial burdens when receiving health care. We are putting patients first, providing unprecedented protections and transparency. Our bipartisan approach differs from other proposals in that we require – for the first time – that patients receive a true and honest bill in advance of scheduled procedures and we create a more balanced negotiation process to encourage all parties to resolve their reimbursement differences before using the streamlined and fair dispute resolution process. We recognize that any solution to this problem touches every part of our nation’s health care system. We want to minimize the burden on patients and keep the dispute resolution process neutral.
“Our priority throughout the painstaking process of crafting our legislation has been to get the policy right for patients, and we firmly believe that we have done that. We look forward to working with our Democratic and Republican colleagues in Congress, as well as the Administration, to advance this measure swiftly.”