And even though congressional leaders were planning to redouble their efforts to solve surprising medical bills earlier this year, lawmakers finally focused most of 2020 on laws designed to address America`s coronavirus epidemic. As a result, lawmakers have largely sidelined their willingness to tackle surprising medical bills, and many experts and interest groups did not expect Congress to make progress in legislation to address surprising medical bills until next year. The legislation aims to protect patients from surprising medical bills in case of emergency and emergency, where patients cannot choose a network provider. „American health care consumers and small businesses are desperate to find a solution to end surprising medical bills. We hope that this solution will be a first step towards a more cost-effective approach to performance calibration. Efforts to advance laws that would stem the surprise tally were spurred by the arrival on board on Friday of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.). A coalition of lawmakers at the centre of the negotiations made some supplier-friendly adjustments that helped attract the powerful chairman of the commission. The surprising billing would also extend mandatory funding for municipal health centers, the National Health Service Corps and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program until fiscal year 2024 to the current level. Provisions limiting the contractual tactics between hospitals and insurers were excluded from the agreement. Senate HELP Chair Lamar Alexander told POLITICO his committee was still working with House leaders to secure a deal to address „surprise“ medical bills. | Susan Walsh, File/AP Photo In addition, the proposal would require health plans to assign all „out-of-network“ surprise invoices to a „deductible patient in the network.“ The proposal requires insurers to make advance payments to providers for each applicable off-network service provider, but the proposal does not call on the federal government to set payment benchmarks for off-network care.
With Neal on board, it is likely that the surprise counting package could be attached to the year-end law on public spending, as the legislature tried to do at the end of last year. According to the draft, the agreement would only make patients liable for their cost-shared amounts in the network of emergency medical services, including air ambulances, and for certain non-emergency care. It`s unclear whether the new deal will have the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ( D.N., approved the bill Friday. Instead, the latest proposal, formalized on Friday night, invites the parties to negotiate an agreed tariff or to bring their dispute to a mediator. Air ambulances, which patients can often leave with bills worth tens of thousands of dollars and which have been a sensitive point in the negotiations, would also be included in the surprising billing ban. „In principle, we have entered into a bipartisan agreement to protect patients from surprising medical bills and promote fairness in payment disputes between insurers and suppliers, without increasing premiums for patients or interfering in strong state solutions that are already on the books,“ the bipartisan commission heads said. „Under this agreement, the days of patients receiving devastating and surprising medical bills a-network will be over.