Coalition Opposes Jamming Surprise Billing Deal Onto Year-End Legislation | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Coalition Opposes Jamming Surprise Billing Deal Onto Year-End Legislation

Letters to Officials

December 11, 2019

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
House Republican Leader
U.S. House Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader
The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

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.1 Doing so will better position Congress to tackle this issue in a way that protects patients withoutadversely impacting their care.

National Taxpayers Union
60 Plus Association
Center for a Free Economy
Club for Growth
Consumer Action for a Strong Economy
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Goldwater Institute
Heritage Action for America
Institute for Liberty
Market Institute

1 Badger, Doug, and Blase, Brian. “A Targeted Approach to Surprise Medical Billing.” Galen Institute, December
2018. Retrieved from: (Accessed December 11, 2019); Hyman, David, and Ippolito, Benedic.
“Comment.” Cato Institute, Fall 2019. Retrieved from: (Accessed December 11, 2019.)

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