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A secretive group calling itself “Doctor Patient Unity” has spent $30 million to kill legislation in Congress that would protect patients from surprise and unexpected medical bills.
The goal of the proposed bill would set federal rates to resolve billing disputes so insured patients would be protected from staggering bills for out-of-network care. Politico reports that shortly before August, Doctor Patient Unity began spending millions on ads targeting prominent lawmakers and demanding they stop the legislation.
A spokesperson for the group confirmed to Politico that Envision Healthcare and TeamHealth, doctor staffing firms, are significant sponsors of Doctor Patient Unity. Instead of doctors working for hospitals, many are employed by large staffing companies backed by private equity firms and hired out to hospitals. These firms would likely see their bottom line cut by surprise billing reforms.
Concerned about the increasing role private equity investors are playing in relation to rising health care costs, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee has launched an investigation. In the meantime, negative ads running in Alabama, California, Colorado and New Hampshire may have done exactly what was intended: stall surprise billing legislation from being scheduled for a vote.
Do you think Congress should do something about surprise medical bills? Sign the petition here!