Newswise — The American Society of Anesthesiologists commends the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association for filing their lawsuit, which challenges major flaws in the regulations implementing the “No Surprises Act” law. ASA is particularly pleased that two community anesthesiologists, who are ASA members, are lead individual plaintiffs.

The law, which was passed in December 2020, was designed to protect patients from surprise bills and create a fair mechanism to resolve payment disputes between physician and health insurance companies. In their first round of regulations, the responsible federal agencies - the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury- successfully crafted rules, endorsed by our organizations, that will hold patients harmless from surprise bills. However, in the second round of regulations released in September, the agencies failed to follow the law and create a balanced process to resolve payment disputes. What was intended to be a fair process is now a powerful mechanism for large health insurance companies to avoid negotiating on contracts and, ultimately, to extract financial concessions from local community physician practices. The error cannot be permitted to stand.

This lawsuit represents an important step in rectifying the agencies’ lapse.  We support the AMA – AHA litigation. We believe this issue is so critically important to our members and the patients we serve that we are considering all options to oppose this misguided rule, including filing a separate lawsuit, which will be announced in the coming days.