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Congressman Lloyd Doggett

Representing the 35th District of Texas


No Patients as Pawns: Chairman Doggett on Trump’s Interest in Surprise Medical Bills, Doggett’s Legislation to End Them

May 9, 2019

***Press Release***


May 9, 2019

Contact: Kate Stotesbery


No Patients as Pawns: Chairman Doggett on Trump’s Interest in Surprise Medical Bills, Doggett’s Legislation to End Them

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Doggett (D-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, responded to President Trump’s expected call to action regarding surprise medical bills today. Fifty-seven percent of American adults have received a surprise bill for expenses that they thought would have been covered by insurance. Rep. Doggett has authored the only legislation in the House to end this unjustified practice. His statement:

“I introduced the End Surprise Billing Act four years ago to ensure patients are no longer the pawn in a conflict between insurance companies and health care providers. As the author of the only legislation in the House, I am hopeful Congress will act to deliver much-needed relief. A bill for heart surgery shouldn’t give you a heart attack. While the President has previously recognized the problem and called for transparency in his budget, patients being wheeled into the emergency room cannot be expected to research the price of their care. Meaningful presidential leadership can contribute significantly to a bipartisan solution. I hope we get it.”

The End Surprise Billing Act (H.R. 861) follows four core principles:

  1. The patient must be held harmless and any resolution of billed charges must be resolved between the insurance company and health care provider without patient involvement.
  2. The patient must provide advanced consent for any out-of-network care and charges. Without such consent as well as in emergencies, the patient should not be charged more than in-network rates.
  3. All patients must receive protection from surprise medical bills, including those with self-insured ERISA plans, which are not subject to state regulation.
  4. The patient must receive protections from surprise medical bills in all care settings, not just for certain specialty or emergency care.

In August 2018, Austin High School teacher Drew Calver spoke with KUT and Kaiser Health News about his $109,000 heart attack bill, which he faced despite his employee insurance. Calver is participating in the President’s ceremony today.



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