For immediate release
March 9, 2022
We are extremely disappointed by the recent Texas court decision undermining a crucial principle of the No Surprises act to protect patients and payers from escalating healthcare costs and we urge the Biden administration to aggressively challenge this ruling and other efforts to weaken the law. The Texas decision squarely undermines Congress’ determination to stop private equity-backed and other healthcare groups from using the dispute resolution process to game the system, extract egregious rates for medical services, and drive-up healthcare costs for our members and millions of more hard-working Americans just like them.
We as a nation will never address the unrelenting rise in healthcare costs that are draining family, employer, and government budgets until we take on the actual cost drivers and the powerful interests in the system that time and again prioritize profits over patients. Congress sought to address the real cost drivers in the No Surprises Act and the tri-agencies promulgated rules making that a reality by ensuring payment dispute decisions are guided by reasonable rates for medical services. Research from other states like New York, New Jersey, and Texas shows that independent dispute resolution processes with poor benchmarks and inadequate guardrails increased consumer healthcare costs.
Before the passage of the No Surprises Act, private equity-backed and other provider groups unleashed massive lobbying and pr campaigns to protect a business model that exploited market failures, inflated healthcare costs, and left patients with financially devastating surprise medical bills. Now there are litigation strategies to subvert the purpose of the No Surprises Act and revert to a failed status quo that will protect the profits of providers who engage in these insidious practices at the expense of patients.
UNITE HERE is a hospitality service union that, though trust funds jointly managed with employers, provided comprehensive health coverage to over 500,000 workers and their families, most of whom are women, people of color, and immigrants. We will continue to support Congress’ and the Biden Administration’s efforts to protect consumers from surprise bills and lower healthcare costs for American families by reining in outrageous billing practices. We oppose the Texas court’s decision and support the Administration’s efforts to protect patients by vigorously defending the No Surprises Act and interim final rule proposed in Fall 2021 to prevent bad actors from driving up healthcare costs for American families.