American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

ACS Engages Congress on Surprise Billing Legislation

In anticipation of potential action on surprise billing legislation before the end of the year, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) sent a letter to congressional leadership reiterating its position that Congress should find a solution to protect patients from surprise medical bills. However, Congress should not enact bad policy in order to pay for other health care programs. More specifically, the College opposes using insurer-dictated federal payment rate setting as a go-around to addressing the root cause of surprise medical billing.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Greg Walden (R-OR) December 9 released details on an agreement they reached to address surprise medical billing. This plan, which uses a median in-network payment benchmark for out-of-network care, also included a restrictive independent dispute resolution (IDR) process.

After learning the details of the proposal, the ACS issued a press release articulating the College’s opposition to the new plan. Following the release of the agreement, more than 40 members of Congress sent a letter to House leadership in support of an accessible and meaningful IDR process. The ACS has stated that a comprehensive solution to unanticipated medical billing should avoid the long-term consequences of setting payment benchmarks, provide a fair and accessible IDR process, increase the transparency of insurance plans, address network adequacy, and level the playing field between physicians and insurers.

For more information on this issue, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at

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