Physicians For Fair Coverage

Physicians Respond to Rep. Ruiz and Roe’s Latest Efforts to End Surprise Billing

Wednesday, 06/26/19

Physicians for Fair Coverage (PFC), a non-profit, non-partisan alliance of tens of thousands of physicians, issued the below statement following the introduction of the Protecting People from Surprise Medical Bills Act by Representatives Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA) and Phil Roe, MD (R-TN):

“We commend the bipartisan work of these legislators to end surprise medical billing using the only method with a proven track record of success – Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR),” said Dr. Sherif Zaafran, Chair of Physicians for Fair Coverage. “As fellow doctors, we understand the urgency to protect patients from unexpected expenses, but this must be done in a way that ensures lasting change rather than a quick fix. Some of this bill’s co-sponsors were there when IDR was enacted at the state level in Texas and New York and we appreciate their enthusiasm for similar reform at the federal level. We look forward to working together in the future to protect patients, increase transparency, and preserve access to the highest quality care.”

 According to a recent case study from Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, New York state officials reported a “dramatic decline” in consumer complaints and that the law has “downgraded the issue from one of the biggest [consumer concerns our call center receives] to barely an issue.” The same study reported there has not been “an indication of an inflationary effect in insurers’ annual premium rate filings,” and most interesting—that insurer, provider, and consumer stakeholders generally agree that the law is fair to all parties, its implementation went smoothly, and it is working as intended to protect consumers.


Each year, millions of Americans seek emergency care at a hospital, and they do their best to ensure they receive care at an in-network hospital covered by their health insurance plan. However, even if patients receive care at an in-network hospital, they could be treated by an out-of-network physician, which may result in what is commonly referred to as a surprise or balance medical bill.