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Home Press Room CFIF to Congress: Don’t Mimic California’s Failures in Addressing Surprise Medical Billing Problem
CFIF to Congress: Don’t Mimic California’s Failures in Addressing Surprise Medical Billing Problem Print
Monday, December 16 2019

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Surprise medical billing – which occurs when patients suddenly receive unexpected bills from medical providers not covered by their insurance – remains an important issue demanding a Congressional solution.  According to numerous reports, it now appears that Congressional legislation addressing the issue will not emerge from Congress this calendar year due to ongoing debate.  As federal lawmakers scramble to find a fix, however, it’s more important that Congress act wisely, not hastily.  Specifically, the Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”) urges Congress to learn from the successes and failures of proposals already passed in various states as it crafts federal legislation.

What follows is a statement by CFIF Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs Timothy Lee on the issue:

“All sides agree that surprise medical billing remains an important issue that Congress must address wisely and without delay.

“The need for resolution does not, however, justify hasty and counterproductive legislation that will only exacerbate the problem for American consumers.  That’s particularly true if a so-called ‘compromise’ bill attempts to split the proverbial baby down the middle by copying California’s misguided approach, which has resulted in higher premiums, a 50% increase in customer complaints and multiple physician office closures.  California’s approach offers a path toward Medicare for All and socialized medicine, not an improvement of the current situation.

"The state of Florida, in contrast, offers a far better solution with proven success.  Florida’s approach offers a more market-based Independent Dispute Resolution (“IDR”) process to protect patients from surprise medical billing, while allowing both medical providers and insurers a voice and opportunity to fairly negotiate on a case-by-case basis using a neutral mediator rather than one-size-fits-all scheme.  Unlike California, Florida’s solution also protects at-risk rural hospitals serving more vulnerable communities.

“The old adage ‘Act in haste, repent at your leisure’ applies here.  The laboratories of democracy already offer examples of what works and what doesn’t on this issue.  Instead of rushing to mimic the mistakes of California, Congress must instead wisely look to the IDR model that has proven so successful in Florida and elsewhere.”

CFIF is a constitutional and free market advocacy organization with over 300,000 supporters and activists nationwide. 

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