California “Surprise Medical Bill” Legislation Will Harm Patients; Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) Asks Governor to Veto It

TUCSON, Ariz., Sept. 01, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- “This bill will hurt everyone except insurance companies,”  Dr. Jane Orient, executive director for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), states in a letter asking California Governor Jerry Brown to veto Assembly Bill 72, sent today following approval of the measure by the California legislature.

The letter continues: “Promoted misleadingly as a means to end ‘surprise billing,’ AB 72 will actually enrich insurance companies while creating shortages of care for patients. Patients are increasingly being forced into narrow networks, in order to cut costs for insurers. The care they need is often not available in the network. Many physicians stay out of network because the extremely low in-network fees they are allowed to charge wouldn’t cover the costs of keeping their doors open…. [T]his bill will exacerbate California’s current physician shortage. Hospital call panels that provide emergency and also safety-net care for uninsured and under-insured Medi-Cal patients will be unable to deliver adequate specialty services.”

AAPS also informed the Governor of significant legal questions about AB 72, including concerns raised by AAPS General Counsel Andrew Schlafly that the bill is unconstitutional. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently held that the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution prevents a legislature from granting authority to a private company to impose rules that adversely affect its competitors, in Association of American Railroads v. U.S. Dept. of Transp., 821 F.3d 19 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 29, 2016). AB 72, if signed into law, will authorize insurers and managed care plans to impose price controls on its competitors: out-of-network physicians.”

Dr. Orient concludes, “Independent doctors throughout California respectfully request that you stand up for patients and veto AB 72 on the grounds of the bill’s negative impact on the availability of lifesaving medical care, its constitutional infringement, and its cost to taxpayers.”

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in virtually all specialties and every state. Founded in 1943, AAPS has the motto “omnia pro aegroto,” which means “all for the patient.”


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