California’s legislature just gave a gift to the insurance and managed care industry and it’s bad news for independent physicians and their patients.
AB 72 is on the way to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. This bill will not fix the surprise medical bill problem it claims to solve and it will harm patients’ access to medical care by independent physicians. Insurers will in many cases be able to dictate the fees of out-of-network physicians and the result could be devastating for these doctors.
Doctors in California have sent an emergency request to Governor Brown, asking him to veto this bad bill. It reads in part:
Promoted misleadingly as a means to end ‘surprise billing,’ AB 72 will actually enrich insurance companies while creating shortages of care for patients. Patients are increasingly being forced into narrow networks, in order to cut costs for insurers. The care they need is often not available in the network. Many physicians stay out of network because the extremely low in-network fees they are allowed to charge wouldn’t cover the costs of keeping their doors open…. [T]his bill will exacerbate California’s current physician shortage. Hospital call panels that provide emergency and also safety-net care for uninsured and under-insured Medi-Cal patients will be unable to deliver adequate specialty services.
If you’re in California ask the Governor to veto this bill and to read the physician letter in opposition to the bill.
There are a few simple ways to reach Gov. Brown:
PHONE: (916) 445-2841. If calling, you can direct him to read the letter at StopAB72.com (either upper or lowercase spelling works).
FAX: (916) 558-3160. If you have the capability to fax the Governor, include your fax cover sheet with a short note followed by a copy of the AAPS letter.
ONLINE CONTACT FORM:
Choose “Legislation Issues/Concerns” from the drop down list if you can’t find AB00072 in the list (it doesn’t appear to be listed as of the writing of this email, but that could change).
Then select “con” at the top of the message and type a short note. You can simply say something like: “Governor Brown, I respectfully ask you to VETO AB 72. It will harm patients’ access to medical care. Please read the letter at http://StopAB72.com for additional details about why this legislation is bad policy for California’s patients and physicians.”
TWITTER: If you are on Twitter, you can Tweet out this message or one like it:
“Gov. @JerryBrownGov, please VETO AB 72. It will harm patients. I urge you to read a letter from @AAPSonline at http://StopAB72.com.
Other states have passed bans on so-called “surprise medical bills” but California’s attempt is by far the most draconian. AB 72 must not be allowed to become an example for other states to follow.