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Pascrell Supports Crackdown on Surprise Medical Billing

Washington, D.C., February 12, 2020

Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, voted in strong support of H.R. 5826, the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act, legislation that will crack down on unscrupulous surprise medical billing.

“Surprise medical bills top the list of expenses Americans worry about affording,” Pascrell said  Whether it’s emergency care or inpatient care, Americans must be protected. And despite the tired promises we hear from those involved in the industry, insured patients face lawsuits and wage garnishments for outstanding medical debt. This is gross. This is outrageous. This is unacceptable. And this is worse for hospitals that use private equity firms to run and staff emergency rooms. They are behind many of the country’s stunningly large bills -- 15 percent of those hospitals had out-of-network rates over 80 percent.”

In addition to voting in support of H.R. 5826, the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act, which ends surprise billing and provides a mediated negotiation process for disputed claims, Rep. Pascrell also worked to include language that requires insurers to provide an Advanced Explanation of Benefits (AEOB) for scheduled care. This AEOB would include information about the providers’ network status, a cost estimate, and options for the patient to choose in-network providers if any listed providers are out-of-network. This language ensures that the patient knows what to expect, a crucial component of ending surprise billing.

“I am pleased the bill includes legislation I have worked on that requires insurers to provide an Advanced Explanation of Benefits for scheduled care. Patients have a right to know up front the network status of their providers and the expected cost of their care. Ensuring that patients know what is expected is crucial to ending surprise billing,” concluded Pascrell.

Pascrell has also used his position on the Ways and Means Committee to protect programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from Republicans’ decades-long campaign to gut their funding. This week he excoriated Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget which would eviscerate funding for these and other healthcare programs relied upon by millions of Americans.

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