Washington, D.C. – Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA Action, released the following statement regarding reports that Congressional leaders are nearing a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on legislation to end surprise medical bills

We welcome news that key Committees of jurisdiction in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are making progress on a path forward for protecting consumers from surprise medical bills.  As families face the darkest days of the pandemic, the last thing they should be worried about is receiving an unexpected bill for necessary medical care.

Congress has spent the last two years circling a solution. This debate has far too often been about powerful special interests when our nation’s families are the ones who are directly impacted and are hurting. Families USA Action and the No Surprisescampaign have evaluated every proposed policy solution based on three essential criteria:

  1. Consumers must be held harmless from paying out-of-network balance bills;
  2. Any viable solution must not raise costs for consumers in the long run, either via increased insurance premiums or overall system costs; and a reasonable payment mechanism between insurers and out-of-network providers for surprise bill situations must be established; and
  3. Federal protections should apply nationwide except where states have equally robust laws.

“We look forward to reviewing any forthcoming deal to ensure it meets these important standards, and to working with champions on the Hill to ensure consumer protections are as strong as possible. This is about making sure health insurance provides real financial protection and that families seeking care don’t get a financial bomb during a health crisis. It is unforgivable that when families receive a surprise bill, their financial security is at stake because they are caught between insurance companies and providers who can’t reach an agreement on payment rates. Now is the time to finally give families peace of mind that they will not receive a surprise medical bill nor face unfair increases in costs down the line. We know that delaying legislative action into 2021 will only make it harder for Congress to act. Now, when families are dealing with both a financial and health crisis, is the time to act. We urge all Members of Congress and the President to enact surprise billing protections now and protect families before the New Year,” said Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA Action.

For more information on Families USA Action’s work on ending surprise medical bills, visit nosurprisescampaign.org.