Coalition Urges Congress to Avoid Jamming Last-Minute Surprise Billing Deal Into Year-End Legislation

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A coalition of 15 taxpayer, consumer, and free-market advocates sent a letter to Congressional leaders, urging them to avoid forcing any surprise billing proposal that relies on government rate-setting into year-end legislation.

Read the letter below.

Letter Text

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, representing a diverse coalition of taxpayer, consumer, and free-market advocates, we write asking you to avoid forcing any surprise billing proposal that relies on government rate-setting into year-end legislation.

The recent deal reached by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee continues to include a federal benchmark that will impact access to care and put federal bureaucrats in charge of important health care decisions. We believe that there are better, less intrusive solutions to this issue that protect patients but do not set prices for doctors and hospitals.

Price controls do not work. No matter the intentions of the policymakers who introduce them, all price controls do is distort markets and create scarcity. In the health care space, this has a direct impact on taxpayers who support federal and state health programs, and on patients with either public or private coverage. We believe a federal benchmark will have unintended negative consequences for both patients and taxpayers, and urge you to ensure that such a benchmark is excluded from year-end legislation.

There is time for Congress to address this issue when lawmakers return in 2020, in ways that do not allow government regulators to play a role in setting the price of health care.  We hope you will pause on these rushed efforts to patch together a surprise billing framework at the last possible moment, and instead explore more market-oriented proposals, such as those that rely on price disclosure and private contractual agreements as a means to resolving payment disputes. Doing so will better position Congress to tackle this issue in a way that protects patients without adversely impacting their care.


National Taxpayers Union

60 Plus Association

Center for a Free Economy

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Club for Growth

Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste


Frontiers of Freedom

Goldwater Institute

Heritage Action for America

Institute for Liberty

Less Government

The Market Institute

American Consumer Institute