Congress to ban surprise bills, include provider grant fix in year-end deal

Lawmakers are poised to soon pass a massive end-of-year legislative package comprised of many healthcare industry priorities including a ban on surprise medical bills, money for vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing and more funding and flexibility for provider grants, among other provisions.

Congressional leaders announced they have a deal on COVID-19 relief after months of gridlock, but have not officially released legislative text. Both chambers are expected to vote on a one-day continuing resolution on Sunday, and then vote on the full packages as soon as Monday.

The agreement breaks the paralysis that has gripped Washington for years on the issue of banning balance billing, when consumers receive large bills for out-of-network care provided in emergency situations or at an in-network facility. A broad coalition of lawmakers who had squabbled over details of how insurers and providers should work out payment ultimately united on Dec. 11 for a final push to get a fix across the finish line.

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Tags: covid-19, pandemic

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