Conservative groups launch ad blitz to stop surprise medical billing proposal opposed by radiologists

Several conservative, anti-tax groups have launched a new advocacy group to try and kill one surprise medical billing proposal that’s caused concern among the radiology community.

The “Coalition Against Rate-Setting,” revealed on Jan. 22, is planning to start a national ad blitz, aimed at burying bipartisan legislation proposed to address this issue. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and several others first introduced their “Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019” act in December, which would end surprise medical billing for patients and base radiologist reimbursement on the average price for services provided.

However, the group calls this practice “rate setting” and wants the government to refrain from meddling in private business negotiations, the Hill reported Wednesday.

"This coalition is prepared to push back against ill-considered rate-setting proposals and educate lawmakers and the public on the perils of federal meddling in healthcare decisions," said David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, which is a member of the group. Others involved include Americans for Limited Government, Heritage Action for America, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, and Citizens Against Government Waste.

Last month, nearly 900 independent radiologists and other providers said Alexander’s proposal could have “devastating unintended consequences” on physicians. The American College of Radiology echoed those sentiments, while favoring a different policy framework put forward by the House Ways & Means Committee.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has already spent $500,000 on ads opposing the proposal, while fellow coalition member, the National Taxpayers Union, doled out another $1.2 million.

Lawmakers had originally hoped to push through a surprise medical billing bill as part of end-of-year appropriations. However, “sharp divisions” delayed any action on the matter, Radiology Business reported. Alexander said he hoped to include his proposal in another funding package that must pass in May.

Read more in the Hill.