Joint Statement: Health Policy Experts Discourage Open-Ended Arbitration as Solution to Surprise Billing

By at 25 June, 2019, 12:57 pm

WASHINGTON – This week the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is expected to mark-up the “Lower Health Care Costs Act” (S. 1895), which among other things, attempts to address the problem of surprise medical bills.

As members of Congress on both sides of the aisle propose ways to tackle the surprise billing issue, 28* health policy experts released the following joint statement today to voice concern about the use of “open-ended arbitration” as a solution to the problem. A full list of signatories is below.

“We appreciate that both the House and the Senate are addressing the problem of surprise medical bills in a constructive and bipartisan way. Yet, this is not the first time that Congress has attempted to protect individuals from the problem, and so it is important to ensure that reforms enacted achieve their intended purpose, and do not merely add more cost and complexity to American healthcare.

“Specifically, we are concerned about proposals for open-ended arbitration, which have been floated as a solution to the problem. If arbitration appears innocuous, it is to a large extent because it is not transparent. Experience suggests that arbitration would be cumbersome to deploy, and highly favorable to those health care providers who charge high prices today. If Congress were to endorse arbitration, it could potentially open the door to a system quite unintended – establishing an inflationary dynamic that accommodates and encourages the rapid growth of costs.

“While we hold different views on the merits of using benchmarks or network matching to address the problem of surprise bills, we are encouraged that the Senate HELP Committee left arbitration out of its most recent legislative proposal. We hope it stays out, and that other committees and members follow their lead.”


Joe Antos, American Enterprise Institute

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, 60 Plus Association

Josh Archambault, Foundation for Government Accountability

Brandon Arnold, National Taxpayers Union

Doug Badger, Galen Institute and Heritage Foundation​

Tim Chapman, Heritage Action for America​

Lanhee J. Chen, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Ryan Ellis, Center for a Free Economy​

Kaitlyn Finley, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs​

Beverly Gossage, HSA Benefits Consulting

Heather Higgins, Independent Women’s Forum

​Dave Hoppe, Hoppe Strategies ​

Ben Ippolito, American Enterprise Institute​

Karen Kerrigan, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council​

Bethany Marcum, Alaska Policy Forum​

James L. Martin, 60 Plus Association

Tom Miller, American Enterprise Institute​

Mark Pauly, University of Pennsylvania

Daniel Perrin, HSA Coalition

Sally C. Pipes, Pacific Research Institute​

Chris Pope, Manhattan Institute​

Avik Roy, The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity​

Thomas Schatz, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste​

Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute​

Daniel Weber, Association of Mature American Citizens ​

Joel White, Council for Affordable Health Coverage


To read the Joint Statement online, please visit:


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