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August 29, 2019
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,
Surprise medical billing is an unfair business practice in which some medical providers engage to the detriment of patients. The Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) should be commended for attempting to right this wrong on behalf of consumers.
Surprise medical billing is one component of an overall healthcare system that costs consumers too much. In order to effectively address surprise medical billing, healthcare reforms should expand beyond this one issue to solve a series of problems that drive up costs on Americans. These reforms can be accomplished by accessing certain market forces to introduce competition and transparency and by decentralizing control over healthcare regulations and subsidies through increasing the power of individuals to choose their care.
The antidotes to surprise medical billing currently making their way through Congress use the heavy hand of government to force medical providers to abide by contracts governing payments into which they have not entered. Government rate setting will further distort an already distorted market. Similarly, forcing parties into binding arbitration when payment disputes arise or forcing non-network providers into contract matching require government interference into private contracts.
Solutions to the costs of healthcare, including surprise billing, should not involve government rate setting or price controls. There is some evidence that suggests the problem of surprise medical billing could be caused in part by existing federal mandates. This should be researched further. Doug Badger of The Heritage Foundation summarizes it well when he said, “Instead of choosing between flawed solutions advanced by those who profit from the problem, Congress should devise market-oriented proposals that preserve the freedom to contract.”
The political pressure to fix the problem of surprise medical billing is understandable. However, the reasons for surprise medical billing are not entirely clear, and legislative action should yield to the need for further evaluation of the issue.
On behalf of the undersigned organizations representing millions of grassroots activists across the country, we encourage you to work toward solutions for surprise medical billing that increases the power of patients, not the federal government.
Heritage Action for America
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Campaign for Liberty
American Conservative Union
National Taxpayers Union
Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer
Americans for Prosperity
60 Plus Association
60 Plus Association