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On the Hill: Senator Cites Essential Hospitals in Criticism of Bill

During a Sept. 21 executive session of a key Senate health committee, Louisiana’s senior senator cited advocacy by America’s Essential Hospitals in his opposition to proposed legislation that would impose harmful site-neutral payment policies on hospitals.

“Let me just take an excerpt from America’s Essential Hospitals,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). “‘Essential hospitals’ mission means they shoulder a disproportionate share of unreimbursed care. These hospitals are concerned that these experts in providing culturally competent care to their marginalized communities will be harmed by this bill. This is important.”

Cassidy’s comments came during the HELP committee’s consideration of several bills and referenced the Bipartisan Primary Care and Health Workforce Act (S. 2840). The large package advanced out of committee on a 14-7 vote, but it is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House.

Also last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing, “Hearing on Reduced Care for Patients: Fallout From Flawed Implementation of Surprise Medical Billing Protections.” Members and panelists focused on several issues, including a potential bias favoring insurers in the independent dispute resolution process; reduced reimbursements for providers; and hospitals’ struggles to remain financially viable. They also explored problems impacting patients, such as increased wait times, decreased options for care, and narrowed insurance networks.

Committee Activity this Week 

The House and Senate are both in session Tuesday through Friday this week.

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