Senator Lamar Alexander
Chairman, Senate HELP Committee
Senator Patty Murray
Ranking Member, Senate HELP Committee
Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on bipartisan discussion draft legislation entitled the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019. The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is a broad-based alliance with a singular focus: bringing down the cost of health care for all Americans. Our membership represents a broad range of interests – organizations representing small and large employers, manufacturers, retailers, insurers, patient groups, and physician organizations. As a result, these comments reflect the positions of CAHC, but may
not necessarily reflect the individual views of all members.
CAHC supports efforts to lower health costs through reforms that will increase competition by improving access, fostering and expanding informed consumer choice, promoting value, and empowering consumers. The draft Lower Health Care Costs Act is a good step and we outline several changes below to improve the proposal. We look forward to working with you on these issues.
Title I – Ending Surprise Billing
The current situation of third-party payment allows health care providers to not participate in the network even when providing services in in-network facilities. This has allowed surprise billing so profound that government intervention to reset the rules of the road is essential. We believe a national approach is needed to comprehensively address the issue and to prevent specialists from state shopping.
CAHC supports the language in Sections 101 and 102 that protect consumers from surprise bills, only apply in-network cost sharing and count the cost sharing against deductible and maximum payment limits. Consumers should not be responsible for surprise medical bills.Download the Letter
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