fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

FAH Reacts to Release of Lower Health Care Costs Act

June 19, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Legislation

Surprise billing is a problem for patients that needs to be solved. The Senate HELP Committee Chair’s Lower Health Care Costs Act resolves the patient’s problem, but the bill also includes a misguided arbitrary, government-dictated ‘benchmark’ payment rate for out-of-network services. FAH must oppose the bill until the Committee finds a better way.

Fortunately, appropriate payment for unavoidable out-of-network care can be left to providers and insurers to negotiate or when there are disputes the legislation can define a fair and objective arbitration process. 

The bill also contains contracting proposals that are apparently intended to reduce health care costs, but in reality will reduce patient access to vital medical care and have other unintended consequences for providers and payers alike.

FAH believes in the spirit of Lower Health Care Costs Act – protecting patients and lowering health care costs – though sees it as a work in progress that needs refinement. We look forward with working with the policymakers to help resolve the surprise billing problem for patients.