SURPRISE BILLING PROGRESS DRIVES THE WEEK
Legislation to address surprise medical bills is moving forward this week, as two House committees mark up their own plans to protect patients.
After progress stalled at the end of last year, the House Ways and Means Committee jump-started it by announcing it would move forward with its proposal. The committee plans to take up the bipartisan bill Wednesday.
Tuesday, the Education and Labor Committee will enter the fray with its own bill. Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., released the proposal last week.
The key point of contention among the different plans is the mechanism used to resolve billing disputes. The Ways and Means approach relies on independent arbitration when insurers and providers cannot negotiate a solution on their own. A bipartisan agreement by the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees uses a benchmark payment rate. The new Education and Labor proposal appears to hew more closely to the Energy and Commerce approach.