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Brady Opening Statement at Full Committee Markup of Health Legislation

February 12, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a Full Committee Markup of Health Legislation.

CLICK HERE to watch the markup.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Chairman Neal. 

“It’s time to end surprise medical bills on American families.

“They are too frequent, too expensive, and horribly unfair.

“Whether they are $1,000 or $100,000, they can be too much for a family to bear.

“The reality is that insurance companies and health care providers have never really resolved their differences about fair reimbursement – so it’s the patient that gets the bill. That’s coming to a halt. 

“I’m proud to be the lead cosponsor with Chairman Neal of the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2020.

“Every Republican member of our committee is an original cosponsor, as well.

“This thoughtful, bipartisan measure bans surprise medical bills at emergency departments and for most scheduled procedures.

“It forces insurers, doctors, and hospitals to work out their reimbursement disputes without the government setting the prices.

“It is fair to all parties, favoring no one except the patient.

“Ideally, no one in health care would use the arbitration system and would work out their differences through negotiation in the health care marketplace.

“But if they do find their differences are intractable, they can opt for an arbitration system that is streamlined, allows both parties to make their full case, and requires qualified arbiters, a timely decision, and prompt pay.

“In other words, for those counting on government to give you a leg up in negotiations or favor your interests, you won’t find it here. 

“And – in a world where health care is unnecessarily and increasingly confusing for people to understand – for the first time the law of the land will require a true and honest bill in advance to patients facing a scheduled procedure.

“This requires that all parties in health care work together to make sure the patient knows their out-of-pocket costs before they head into the procedure – and gives them time to pursue other options if those costs are unaffordable.

“Our priority throughout the painstaking process of crafting our legislation has been to get the policy right for patients, and Mr. Chairman with your leadership I firmly believe that we have done that.

“We will also be considering the Helping Our Senior Population in Comfort Environments Act, championed by Rep. Tom Reed and Rep. Jimmy Panetta.

“This bipartisan bill improves hospice care for patients and their families by building on the bipartisan IMPACT Act this committee authored in 2014.  

“Having lost my mother a few years ago, and seeing first-hand how crucial hospice is for families, we must make sure that the care our loved ones are receiving in their last days is good care. 

“Finally, we’ll be considering a bill today that Republicans strongly oppose that targets private equity in their health care investments – an approach that is an unprecedented abuse of our tax code and ignores the need for this committee to examine the impacts of consolidation and acquisition of health care parties by all investors, private or non-profit. 

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”