AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, issued the following statement on the public announcement of forthcoming surprise billing legislation from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP):
“The AAMC firmly supports protecting patients from surprise medical bills and has consistently supported Congress’ efforts to hold patients harmless. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring that patients have access to the critical services provided by teaching hospitals and academic physicians, and therefore continue to strongly oppose any proposal that includes benchmark rate setting. While we are encouraged that the committees’ press statement mentions arbitration as part of its legislative framework, we remind Congress that even paired with arbitration, a benchmark rate could decrease patient access to care by incentivizing the exclusion of teaching hospitals from coverage networks and increasing narrow networks. We continue to believe that arbitration, not rate setting, is the best solution to address billing disputes.
Given the importance of this issue for patients and the potential for unintended consequences, it is critical for Congress to receive input from all committees of jurisdiction and for all stakeholders to have ample time to review and provide feedback on the legislative text when it is released. The AAMC will continue working with lawmakers and other stakeholders to advance policies that protect patients from surprise medical bills and preserve patient access to the critical services of teaching hospitals and physicians.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their 173,000 faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.