July 25, 2019

Surprise Billing Debate to Continue During August Recess

Citing dueling priorities and lack of policy consensus, leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate acknowledged this week that neither chamber would further advance surprise billing-related legislation prior to Congress’ annual August recess.

As such, the congressional break period now serves as a critical opportunity for the American College of Radiology (ACR) and others in the physician community to fortify support for advancing balanced surprise billing-related legislation, which would protect patients and mitigate arbitrary benchmark payments for out-of-network services while also providing a mechanism for independent dispute resolution.

Lawmakers and staff from the House Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees have indicated their intention to consider surprise billing legislation during the September work period. In addition, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is also continuing to negotiate policy changes related to the surprise billing-related provisions included in the committee’s Lower Health Care Costs Act (S. 1875).

The ACR Government Affairs team will be meeting with congressional staff throughout August and will provide relevant updates as information becomes available.

The House of Representatives adjourned on Friday, July 26, and the Senate will conclude its summer session by August 2. Both chambers will reconvene for regular sessions on September 9.