The bill doesn’t include benchmark payments, which have been opposed by both providers and hospitals. While the issue of addressing surprise medical bills is bipartisan, the ways to go about solving the problem have proven divisive among lawmakers.
Modern Healthcare: House Ways & Means Committee Releases Surprise Billing Proposal
Leaders of the House Ways & Means Committee on Friday released bipartisan legislation to ban balance billing that excludes benchmark payment and mediation threshold policies that have drawn ire from hospitals and specialty physician groups. The Federation of American Hospitals announced its support of the Ways & Means legislation on Friday. “The plan authored by Chairman (Richard) Neal and Ranking Member (Kevin) Brady provides certainty for patients while enabling the healthcare community to settle payments without unnecessary rate setting,” said FAH CEO Chip Kahn. (Cohrs, 2/7)
The Hill: Ex-HHS Chief Threatens To Vote ‘No’ On Surprise Medical Billing Measure
Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), a former secretary of Health and Human Services, said Friday she plans to vote against a bipartisan measure to protect patients from surprise medical bills unless it is changed. The comments from Shalala are a sign of the divisions within both parties over the legislation. Shalala said she is worried the bill from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and ranking member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) would harm hospitals in her district. The bill is slated for a vote in committee next week, and Shalala indicated other lawmakers have concerns as well. (Sullivan, 2/7)
In other health care industry and costs news —
The New York Times: What They Paid To Make A Baby (Or 2)
Not everyone who uses I.V.F. winds up with a baby. Five families who did reveal their out-of-pocket costs. (Rothman and Feinberg, 2/7)
Bloomberg: Family Builds $3.8 Billion Fortune, One Pint Of Blood At A Time
Wedged between a dental office and a liquor store in a Pennsylvania strip mall, the place hardly looks like a cogwheel of international commerce. But that’s precisely what it is: part of a far-flung corporation that’s raking in hundreds of millions a year thanks in large part to hard-pressed people like Armstrong. In fact, the blood plasma business is so good these days that the family behind this company, Barcelona-based Grifols SA, has amassed a $3.8 billion fortune, according to calculations by Bloomberg. The Grifols family declined to comment. Over the past decade, as international demand for plasma has soared and many Americans have struggled to make ends meet, plasma collection in the U.S. has more than doubled, according to the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, which represents the industry. Grifols is riding the wave. The company’s shares have climbed 37% in the past year, almost four times more than Spain’s IBEX 35 Index. (Vickers, 2/10)
Bloomberg: Google-Fitbit Deal Poses Test For Merger Cops Eyeing Data Giants
Google’s plan to buy Fitbit Inc. is running into a wall of antitrust and privacy worries in the U.S., Europe and Australia, where competition officials are increasingly wary of how internet giants can exert control over data to cement their dominance. Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of the maker of smartwatches and fitness trackers, announced in November, would add wearable devices to the internet giant’s hardware business. It also advances the ambitions of Google parent Alphabet Inc. to expand in the health-care sector by adding data from Fitbit’s more than 28 million users. Google has struck cloud-service partnerships with hospital groups and signed a deal with Mayo Clinic to build new artificial intelligence tools. (McLaughlin and White, 2/10)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Syndicated from https://khn.org/morning-breakout/ways-means-surprise-medical-bills-legislation-gets-immediate-support-from-hospital-group/