You are here

Ways and Means Chairman Proposes Compromise “Fix” for Surprise Medical Bills

House Ways and Means (W&M) Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) is proposing a new way to move forward on crafting rules to protect patients from surprise medical bills. In a letter to fellow W&M Democrats last week, Chairman Neal outlined a process that calls for negotiated rulemaking by federal agencies—rather than legislators—to set out-of-network payment rates and to determine when to use arbitration. His proposal details a compromise to address provider demands for an arbitration process instead of a benchmark out-of-network rate.

The negotiated rulemaking process would require three agencies—the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury—to form a committee to identify standards for rates for surprise bills, according to the letter. The committee would decide whether to add a dispute resolution and to define the parameters of that resolution process. The result would go through a public comment period.

Momentum on addressing surprise bills has stalled since Congress returned from its August recess. Both the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee have advanced bills to ban surprise medical bills, but neither has gone to its respective chamber’s floor.

We will keep you updated.

Educational Resources