HHS wants surprise-billing fix in stimulus plan, but hospitals say no

HHS signaled that it wants legislation to address surprise medical billing in the next COVID-19 relief package, but hospitals are urging Congress to leave the proposals out.

In a report released July 29, HHS said surprise billing should be addressed through legislation, and likely won’t correct itself in the market. According to Bloomberg Government, a senior HHS official told reporters that the Trump administration wants Congress to include a surprise-billing remedy in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package.

But several major hospital groups, including the Federation of American Hospitals and the American Hospital Association, oppose adding surprise-billing legislation to the relief bill. In a July 30 letter, hospitals said it would “further destabilize hospitals’ finances as they work to recover from an unprecedented public health emergency.”

Surprise-billing proposals aren’t market-based and incentivize payers to make their provider networks more narrow, some hospital leaders have said.

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