WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — When the bipartisan-passed No Surprises law took effect at the beginning of the year, the goal was to protect consumers from surprise medical bills. But now that it’s in effect, 6 lawsuits have been filed by medical associations.
The No Surprises law is meant to protect Americans from unanticipated, out-of-network bills that can total thousands of dollars.
The law, said Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, “protects Americans from being broadsided, surprised, by unexpected medical bills. We’re going to be vigorous in enforcement of that law.”
But the Biden adminitration is now facing six lawsuits from medical associations that disagree with the proposed rules for implementing the law.
Various medical associations bringing the suits declined on-camera interviews but said they’re not challenging the portions that affect consumers’ out-of-pocket expenses.
They argue Congress wrote the law to allow for an independent dispute resolutions process to decide how much insurance companies should pay and that the Health and Human Services rules don’t allow for that.
Patricia Kelmar with the US Public Interest Research Groups said the rules crafted by the Biden administration serve as important guardrails.
“You can imagine what happens when you take a away a very lucrative billing practice from providers. They’re very upset,” Kelmar said. “When out-of-network providers can charge whatever they want with no regard to a market value, then all consumers, all insured consumers are paying those added costs.”
She said in the end consumers will pay higher premiums to pick up that cost.