Oct 2, 2019

House committee floats new proposal to ban surprise medical billing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The House Ways and Means Committee is considering banning surprise medical bills and forcing the administration to decide how providers get paid for out-of-network care, according to a letter sent by Chairman Richard Neal to Democratic members.

The big picture: Payment resolution has sparked an intense fighting among insurers, hospitals and doctors.

  • Instead of landing on one method, the proposal would have administrative agencies convene a committee with stakeholders before creating a regulatory solution.

What they're saying: In the letter, Neal said he's offered the approach — referred to as "negotiated rulemaking" — as a compromise to the panel's top Republican, Kevin Brady.

The bottom line: This approach would allow Congress to say it protected patients from surprise medical bills without having to side with one industry group over another.

Go deeper: How surprise billing proposals actually affect health care providers

Go deeper

New York's very expensive surprise medical billing solution

New York's surprise billing law — which providers hope will become the model for a national solution — has resulted in providers receiving some very high payments, according to a new analysis by the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy.

Why it matters: Surprise medical bills impact two groups of people: The patients directly responsible for paying them, and the rest of us, who pay higher premiums as a result of their existence.

Go deeperArrowOct 25, 2019

The risks of private equity in health care

Private investment into the health care sector may bring innovation, but it's also led to revenue-seeking behaviors at the expense of patients, three employees of The Commonwealth Fund argue in Harvard Business Review.

By the numbers: There were nearly 800 private equity health care deals in 2018, with a total value of more than $100 billion.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019

Health benefits won't change for GM workers

UAW workers have demanded health care costs stay the same. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

The tentative deal between General Motors and the United Auto Workers includes an agreement to keep the same health care plans "with no additional costs to members," according to a summary of the deal.

Why it matters: Most employer health plans are getting more expensive and less comprehensive. The UAW is ensuring GM's benefits stay comprehensive for workers — a move that competing automakers Ford and Fiat Chrysler likely will adopt in their negotiations — but the coverage itself remains pricey and chips away at funds that could go toward wages.

Go deeperArrowOct 18, 2019