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.

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