Congress advances legislation to outlaw practice of surprise medical billing

A congressional committee has unanimously passed a bill to outlaw the practice of surprise medical billing.

News 12 Staff

Jul 22, 2019, 9:34 PM

Updated 1,767 days ago

Share:

Help could be on the way for tens of thousands of New Jersey families who get hit each year with surprise medical bills. A congressional committee has unanimously passed a bill to outlaw the practice.
Kane In Your Corner has done several investigations into surprise medical bills, most recently in April. It typically happens when patients get emergency care. They may go to an in-network hospital, only to find out weeks later that one of the doctors who treated them does not accept their insurance. New Jersey law supposedly outlaws the practice, but only applies to about 30% of patients. Most, who get health insurance through their employers, are covered by federal law, which means only Congress can solve the problem.
That’s exactly what the “No Surprises Act” is intended to accomplish. Bill co-sponsor Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone says the bill would require out-of-network doctors who provide emergency care to accept whatever they would have been paid had they been in-network.
“The 2019 in-network rate is the base, and there's an inflation factor every year,” Pallone says, “so the insurance companies can't come back and squeeze the doctors and say, ‘We're going to give you less than we did this year.’” That, he says, will protect patients without making health insurance premiums more expensive.
But the American Medical Association is not completely on board with the bill.
In a written statement AMA president Dr. Patrice A. Harris, says, "While we continue to have concerns with elements of the legislation, we remain committed to working with all committee members to secure further improvements to protect patients, preserve access and foster fair payments for out-of-network services."
The bill still has to pass the full Congress, but if it does, Pallone says President Donald Trump has already promised to sign it into law.


More from News 12
6:07
EXCLUSIVE: Donald Trump one-on-one interview with News 12

EXCLUSIVE: Donald Trump one-on-one interview with News 12

2:10
Weather improves overnight; sunny and warm Friday ahead to start the holiday weekend

Weather improves overnight; sunny and warm Friday ahead to start the holiday weekend

1:40
New Jersey travelers say high gas prices, traffic won’t deter them from holiday getaway

New Jersey travelers say high gas prices, traffic won’t deter them from holiday getaway

2:59
Fallen trees cause widespread damage as powerful storm tears through West Milford

Fallen trees cause widespread damage as powerful storm tears through West Milford

0:17
Shocking car crash caught on camera in Manchester Township

Shocking car crash caught on camera in Manchester Township

1:08
Water main break in Hackensack sends water shooting up into the air

Water main break in Hackensack sends water shooting up into the air

0:37
Jersey Proud: Senior citizens help clean up banks of Musconetcong River

Jersey Proud: Senior citizens help clean up banks of Musconetcong River

0:55
Parents of Seton Hall student who died while isolated with COVID-19 file lawsuit

Parents of Seton Hall student who died while isolated with COVID-19 file lawsuit

0:23
Two charged in fatal Jersey City shooting

Two charged in fatal Jersey City shooting

1:23
Floodwater running ‘over the train track bridge like a waterfall’ traps driver in Avenel

Floodwater running ‘over the train track bridge like a waterfall’ traps driver in Avenel

1:32
Gov. Murphy calls out Amtrak for system failures, says it ‘disrupts quality of life’ for NJ residents

Gov. Murphy calls out Amtrak for system failures, says it ‘disrupts quality of life’ for NJ residents

1:17
Rutgers University president defends making deals with pro-Palestinian protesters

Rutgers University president defends making deals with pro-Palestinian protesters

0:21
Police seek public’s help identifying man who robbed Lopatcong credit union

Police seek public’s help identifying man who robbed Lopatcong credit union

0:19
Police: 1 person injured, 1 arrested following incident in Wall Township

Police: 1 person injured, 1 arrested following incident in Wall Township

0:57
Officer who arrested Scottie Scheffler disciplined for not having bodycam activated

Officer who arrested Scottie Scheffler disciplined for not having bodycam activated

1:50
Jersey Shore towns kick off summer pedestrian safety campaign ahead of Memorial Day

Jersey Shore towns kick off summer pedestrian safety campaign ahead of Memorial Day

News 12 Book Club

News 12 Book Club

1:41
Best Beaches: We are kicking off the unofficial start to summer at Jenkinson's in Point Pleasant Beach

Best Beaches: We are kicking off the unofficial start to summer at Jenkinson's in Point Pleasant Beach

0:20
Car carrier truck breaks out in fire on New Jersey Turnpike in Kearny

Car carrier truck breaks out in fire on New Jersey Turnpike in Kearny

0:24
Prosecutors: Homeless man accused of sexually assaulting child at Morristown park

Prosecutors: Homeless man accused of sexually assaulting child at Morristown park