Arbitration Option is Not the Answer to Ending Surprise Medical Bills

July 17, 2019

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Kelly Broadway, 202.627.1918, kbroadway@eric.org

For Immediate Release

Arbitration Option is Not the Answer to Ending Surprise Medical Bills

Washington, DC  – The following statement should be attributed to Annette Guarisco Fildes, President and CEO of The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC):

“While employers are committed to ending surprise medical billing, unfortunately the No Surprises Act is likely to be amended to add government-mandated binding arbitration, which will raise costs and threatens to be a surprise bill for everyone.

No one deserves a surprise medical bill, especially from an unexpected emergency room visit or an air ambulance ride to an in-network hospital. Employers have offered numerous compromises to protect our employees from surprise medical bills, knowing that employers and plan sponsors would pay more. We have asked Congress for one key assurance - protect us, and our employees, from being locked into government-mandated binding arbitration, which is being pushed by Wall Street-owned doctor groups. Disappointingly, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is set to report out legislation that locks employers into exactly such a mandate. Baseball-style arbitration has no place in the health care system, which is already burdened by excessive and unwarranted costs, as it threatens to force employers and patients to pay medical list prices – prices that are unreasonable and unpredictable and will continue to bankrupt families. Employers believe that providers should be fairly paid, with costs known up front and transparent for everyone -- not chosen by the whim of arbitrators.

As a result of including government-mandated baseball-style arbitration in this legislation, The ERISA Industry Committee can no longer support the No Surprises Act. We hope to work with Congress, and with the other Committees of jurisdiction, to fix this bill before it comes to a final vote or ever reaches the President's desk.”