ASA President Dr. Linda Mason: Surprise billing legislation is 'unworkable for anesthesiologists'

American Society of Anesthesiologists President Linda Mason, MD, criticized surprise billing legislation passed by the Senate in June, according to an eAlert from Anesthesia Business Consultants.

Four takeaways from Dr. Mason's statement on the Lower Health Care Costs Act (S. 1895):

1. Although it contains protections for patients and cost-saving provisions, S. 1895 also includes "ill-conceived provisions seeking to respond to the growth of surprise medical bills," Dr. Mason said.

2. Dr. Mason specifically criticized a provision that sets payment for out-of-network providers at the insurer's median contracted rate. "Under this unusual arrangement, the federal government has joined with insurance companies to set and control payment to physicians and other providers," she said.

3. The ASA joined a coalition of medical organizations opposing certain provisions in the bill because the "rate-setting approach is completely unworkable for anesthesiologists," according to Dr. Mason.

4. Setting a maximum payment in federal law gives insurers little incentive to negotiate in good faith with providers, Dr. Mason said, and could drive them to narrow their networks even further.

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