The AHA today submitted comments to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on their bipartisan discussion draft legislation, the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019.
AHA commended the committee’s focus on ending surprise medical bills and said it will work with the committee to find a solution to protect patients and remove them from the middle of any reimbursement disputes. “Our preferred solution is simple: patients should not be balance billed for emergency services, or for services obtained in any in-network facility when the patient could reasonably have assumed that the providers caring for them were in-network with their health plan,” AHA said. “Patients should have certainty regarding their cost-sharing obligations, which are based on an in-network amount. In addition, we strongly oppose the imposition of arbitrary rates on providers, along with untested proposals such as bundling payments, which would significantly increase complexity in the system and may, ultimately, be unworkable.”
In addition, AHA expressed opposition to several proposals that would allow the government to intrude into private commercial contracts between providers and insurers. AHA also expressed support for proposals that would make important investments in public health; increase competition in the prescription drug market and ensure patient access to these drugs; and incentivize strong cybersecurity practices.
Click here to download the full letter with AHA’s detailed comments. The HELP committee has stated that it could mark up this legislation by the end of June. 

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