After months of debate over surprise billing and how to protect patients from out-of-network charges, lawmakers were not able to come to a compromise on the surprise billing proposal, failing to get the bill included in the 2019 year-end spending deal. The spending deal was an opportunity for the surprise billing legislation to be passed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave committee chairs a deadline of 11:00 a.m. on December 12th to come to an agreement on the measure, but they were unable to meet on the agreeable terms, causing the bill to be omitted in the funding deal. “Ultimately, the leadership decided that with unresolved disagreements between the committees of jurisdiction, more time was needed and surprise billing would be reserved for the must-past May health extenders vehicle,” a Democratic leadership aide said.
Early in December, a deal was proposed by a Senate health committee Chairperson that discussed insurer-provider conflicts, which many providers fought for. The deal did not move forward, as a Senate health committee ranking member did not approve of the deal and did not sign off. The Senate Minority Leader that disapproved was concerned over the proposal’s effect on New York’s surprise billing law. The American Hospital Association also concerned their disapproval of the deal, stating that the payments being based on benchmark rates was enough for disapproval.
Lawmakers in both chambers and parties say they want a surprise billing fix next year, but May is a difficult time to pass major bipartisan legislation because it will be six months out from a presidential election.
Read the original article from Modern Healthcare here.