American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) President Kristy L. Weber, MD, today issued the following statement in support of the concepts within a new proposal called the Protecting People from Surprise Billing Act:
“Unanticipated medical bills can have a profound effect on patient health care costs and the physician-patient relationship. Especially during a time when rapid market consolidation is driving up costs, decreasing patient choice, and inhibiting industry competition. The problem is further exacerbated as health insurance plans increasingly offer narrow, often inadequate networks of providers.
“The AAOS applauds Reps. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Phil Roe (R-TN), and others for drafting a proposal that protects patients from these ‘surprise bills’ while preserving a fair playing field for resolving disputes. By removing patients from the middle and allowing for “baseball-style” arbitration, the Protecting People from Surprise Billing Act incentivizes insurers and providers to come to the table and negotiate a fair rate.
“Additionally, the proposal allows market forces to draw the best providers to areas of need. This can only happen if an arbitration system relies on a truly independent database like in the New York model, which has successfully reduced out-of-network bills by 34 percent.
“We encourage Congress to consider this bipartisan solution and help ensure that patients have every opportunity to receive care from their provider of choice.
Background on AAOS efforts to stop surprise billing: