Washington, D.C. — Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), at today’s Senate Finance Committee executive session, made a bold procedural gesture by introducing an amendment (Amendment Hassan #2) to highlight the hospital billing loophole that has left people and beneficiaries vulnerable to unfair facility fees for seeking treatment and care at outpatient, off-campus settings. The policy, known as site neutral payments, would bring about fairness in how patients are billed for health services, making sure the same service costs the same price, no matter where it’s delivered. Senator Hassan, a longtime champion for protecting people from financial hardship caused by increased health care costs, leveraged this opportunity to secure commitments from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) to advance site-neutral payment reforms within the Committee.
In response to Senator Hassan’s statement at today’s executive session, United States of Care Senior Director for Policy and External Affairs Lisa Hunter released the following statement:
“United States of Care stands behind Senator Hassan in her sustained efforts to advance policies that bring about fairness within the health care system for everyday people. Our listening work tells us that the price of health care remains the top concern for people nationwide. Upcharging people for the same health care service simply because of where the patient receives care is not only wasteful within the system – it’s wrong.
“These are commonsense, bipartisan reforms that patients and people overwhelmingly support. We applaud Senator Hassan for her longstanding leadership on this issue, and thank Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Crapo for their commitment to working with Senator Hassan and others to end these hospital billing loopholes in the future.”
Today’s amendment marks the latest effort in Congress to highlight the need for hospital billing reforms and site-neutral payments. Earlier this fall, the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act emerged as a tri-committee, bipartisan bill to bring about additional transparency measures for hospitals and off-campus facilities, alongside targeted site-neutral payment reform under Medicare Part B. In the last few weeks, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee also reported legislation that bans the use of facility fees.
Notably, these efforts follow the bipartisan Site-Based Invoicing and Transparency Enhancement (SITE) Act, introduced in June of this year by Senator Hassan, Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), that would take similar action to implement site-neutral payment policy.
“Underlying the Congressional action on this issue is a groundswell of momentum from states that have been taking the lead to establish fair hospital billing policy – including efforts to address facility fees,” said Hunter. “With an overwhelming 89% of voters demanding action to reduce hospital prices, Congress now has the opportunity and mandate to make our health care system more affordable and understandable for people through establishing site-neutral payments. United States of Care continues to advocate for a health care system that works for everyone, and is grateful for Senator Hassan and the leadership of the Senate Finance Committee for sharing in that vision.”
About United States of Care
United States of Care is a nonpartisan organization committed to ensuring that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care.