Ted L. Anderson, MD, PhD, FACOG, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Nation’s leading women’s health organization, issued the following statement about federal legislation to address surprise medical bills:
ACOG appreciates the Ways and Means Committee’s work to thoughtfully draft H.R. 5826, the bipartisan “Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act”, which would protect patients from receiving unanticipated medical bills for out-of-network care. ACOG views the Committee’s approach as the most balanced proposal currently under consideration in Congress.
H.R. 5826 contains many provisions ACOG has advocated for, including holding patients harmless when they receive unanticipated medical bills for out-of-network care; establishing a fair and equitable mediation process; allowing physicians to batch claims to streamline the mediation process; further safeguarding patients by increasing transparency and consumer education; and ensuring mediation is accessible for all physicians. ACOG also thanks the Committee for prioritizing increased access to women’s health care by requiring health plans to cover obstetrician-gynecologist visits without a referral.
As Congress continues to work on a bipartisan agreement to address unanticipated medical bills, ACOG urges policymakers to protect patients while ensuring that a final bill does not lead to narrow networks or penalize physicians who do not contribute to surprise bills, like obstetrician-gynecologists. ACOG looks forward to a solution that is equitable for obstetrician-gynecologists and other physicians, establishes an accessible mediation process, and protects patients.