June 26, 2019

Legislation to End Surprise Medical Bills Passes Senate Committee

Senator Hassan: “This is an important step forward in our efforts to end the practice of surprise medical bills.”

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To watch Senator Hassan’s remarks click here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on which Senator Maggie Hassan serves, today passed bipartisan legislation to end surprise medical bills. The compromise measure to end surprise medical bills was included in a broader package of legislation to address health care costs called the Lower Health Care Costs Act.

Senator Hassan has been a leader in efforts to address surprise medical bills and worked for months with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and members from both parties to craft legislation to end this practice. In May, Senators Hassan and Cassidy joined the President for an event at the White House on the need to end surprise medical billing. The Senator also brought Donna Beckman of Seabrook, who faced a surprise medical bill, as her State of the Union guest to raise awareness for the issue.                                                 

“This is an important step forward in our efforts to end the practice of surprise medical bills,” Senator Hassan said. “It is outrageous that patients do everything they can to ensure that their care is in their insurance network and still open the mail to find huge, unanticipated medical bills. My top priority has been taking patients out of the middle of these payment disputes between health insurance plans and medical providers, and this bill does that. Over the coming weeks, I will keep working with my colleagues to incorporate additional feedback and address this pressing issue facing patients across the country.”

Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) also praised Senators Hassan, Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today for their “valuable work to solve surprise medical billing by proposing a solution last fall and again this spring, and lighting a fire under Congress to end this harmful practice.”

The Lower Health Care Costs Act also included provisions on other key priorities for Senator Hassan including:

  • The bipartisan Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored to lower prescription drug prices and deter pharmaceutical companies from blocking cheaper generic alternatives from entering the marketplace.
  • Measures to address vaccine hesitancy, including by authorizing grants to address vaccine-preventable diseases and improve awareness of scientific and evidence-based vaccine-related information.
  • Measures to address maternal health, including by establishing a grant program to improve maternal health care quality and eliminate preventable maternal mortality. 
  • Bipartisan legislation that Senator Hassan introduced with Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) to enhance education of biosimilar drug products in an effort to increase competition and lower the cost of biologic medicines.

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