Neguse Proposal to End Surprise Billing for Air Ambulance Services Included in End of Year Spending Package
Washington D.C.—Congressman Joe Neguse’s proposal to end surprise billing for air ambulance services has been included in the bipartisan, bicameral surprise billing agreement —“No Surprises Act”—and incorporated into the end of year omnibus spending package which passed the House and Senate last night. The proposal takes patients out of the middle of disputes and charges associated with required emergency care provided by air ambulance services, and ensures that no one with health insurance is receiving surprise bills of hundreds of thousands of dollars after an emergency rescue.
“I’m incredibly grateful to see our common-sense proposal to end surprise billing for air ambulance services included in this bipartisan, bicameral agreement,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Eliminating surprise billing for air ambulance services will ensure that our rural and mountain communities can obtain the emergency care they need without being buried in bills for services they may not have agreed to or received unknowingly. Action on surprise billing is long overdue, and this agreement will protect all Coloradans, by ensuring fairness in disputes between insurers and providers.”
“In 2019, through the leadership of Governor Polis and Colorado’s legislative leaders, we ended surprise billing for health care plans regulated by the state,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “But, because of laws in place at the federal level, our state law wasn’t able to end the insidious practice of surprise billing for many employer-based health care plans and for bills Coloradans received from air ambulance companies. The ‘No Surprises Act’ closes those gaps, and I am extremely thankful to Rep. Neguse for his leadership to ensure that all Coloradans are protected.”
From 2012 to 2016, the cost of a medical ride in a helicopter or airplane climbed 60%, an average of $39,000 per ride.
Several other Neguse-led Colorado priorities were also included in the end of year spending package, including:
- $125 million for low or no emission bus grants, as requested by Congressman Neguse and local communities in the 2nd Congressional District;
- Report language which instructs the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to conduct a study on soil health and carbon sequestration efforts, as outlined in Congressman Neguse’s bipartisan SOIL Act;
- $5.27 billion for the Wildland Forest Management Program, as outlined in Congressman Neguse’s 21st Century Conservation Corps for Our Health and Our Jobs Act;
- An increase of $173 million for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Congressman Neguse is also co-leading legislation to fully fund IDEA;
- $7 million for affordable textbooks pilot program, as outlined in Congressman Neguse’s Affordable College Textbooks Act;
- $614 million for NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Funding, including Congressman Neguse’s request for a funding increase;
- $500,000 for U.S. Department of Agriculture-led investigations into animal cruelty crimes and language directing the U.S. Department of Justice to prioritize prosecution of these crimes, key components of Congressman Neguse’s bipartisan legislation the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act introduced this summer; and
- A mandated phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful greenhouse gas, by 85% by 2036. This was originally included in the American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership Act of 2020, which Rep. Neguse was a cosponsor of.
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