Pallone and Walden Praise House Passage of the No Surprises Act
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) released the following joint statement today after the No Surprises Act passed on the House Floor as part of H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021:
“This is a historic day for patients and their families who will soon be protected from surprise medical bills, correcting a clear market failure that has burdened millions of patients with crushing medical debts through no fault of their own.
“From the outset, our top priority has been to hold patients harmless from surprise medical bills, and that’s exactly what the No Surprises Act will do. Under this legislation, Americans will no longer be caught in the middle of out-of-network surprise billing disputes between their doctors and insurance companies. The legislation creates strong new consumer protections and establishes a fair payment resolution process between insurers and health care providers.
“The Energy and Commerce Committee has a long tradition of working in a bipartisan way, and we can think of no better example than the effort it took over the last two years to get this bill across the finish line. It was an uphill battle from the start against deep-pocketed interest groups, but we continued to push and were joined in our fight by other health leaders in the Senate and the House. Today we are proud and relieved to join in the celebration of passing this landmark bill. We hope this will give patients peace of mind knowing that they will be protected from future surprise medical bills.”
Pallone and Walden first proposed a draft of the No Surprises Act in May 2019. The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a legislative hearing in June 2019 and a markup in July. The full Energy and Commerce Committee voted in favor of the bill later that month. In December 2019, Pallone and Walden announced a nearly successful effort with the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to pass the patient protection legislation as part of a year-end funding bill.
Last week, Pallone and Walden joined House and Senate Health Committee leaders to announce an agreement on the No Surprises Act and signaled their intention to attempt to attach it to the end of year omnibus funding agreement.