SENATE DEMOCRATS TACKLE SURPRISE BILLING & HEALTHCARE AFFORDABILITY

Richmond – This afternoon, the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates rolled out a compromise solution to “surprise billing” in Virginia. According to the Brookings Institute, “Surprise out-of-network bills arise when a consumer receives care from an out-of-network provider in a situation she cannot reasonably control, such as being treated by an out-of-network anesthesiologist at an in-network hospital.” Senator Barbara Favola’s (D-Arlington) SB 172 and its House companion, Delegate Luke Torian’s (D-Woodbridge) HB 1251, propose a model based on the one that has been successful in Washington state. Upon passage of the bill through both Chambers, Senate Democrats released the following statements:

Said Senator Favola, “This is a major step forward for Virginians. I am proud to be the chief patron of a bill that will protect patients from surprise medical bills. Virginians should be able to go to the emergency room or schedule a required surgery without worrying about a medical bill that is beyond their expected deductible or co-pay. It is time to protect consumers and make our healthcare system work in a rational and fair manner.”

Said Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie E. Locke (D-Hampton), “All through 2019, Democrats across Virginia campaigned on healthcare affordability. We pledged to tackle these out-of-control costs once we stepped into the majority and today’s votes represent a giant step in the right direction. We will continue to strive to find ways to reduce healthcare costs for all Virginians.

Said Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), “Spiraling healthcare costs remain a leading pocketbook issue for Virginia families, and surprise billing is a big piece of that. This action is long overdue.”

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