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Two weeks after a handful of senators introduced legislation to curtail surprise medical bills, the American College of Emergency Physicians hired new lobbyists to handle the issue.

Driving the news: ACEP, the trade group representing emergency room doctors, brought on four lobbyists with the law firm Holland & Knight on Oct. 2, according to a federal disclosure. The law firm directed questions to ACEP.

  • An ACEP spokesperson said the group “has been working on a legislative strategy on surprise bills” well before the draft law was rolled out.
  • ACEP also blamed health insurance for large bills and believes patients “should not be punished financially for having emergencies.”

Between the lines: Surprise bills are now a bona fide political issue, especially now that Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen released their own legislation. Emergency doctors obviously want their seat at the table, because they stand to lose a lot of money if their ability to do balance billing vanishes or becomes limited.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

58 mins ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

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