House Bill 341 — Surprise medical billing

House Bill 341 — Surprise medical billing

by
Parrish Miller
January 24, 2020
Parrish Miller
January 24, 2020

Bill description: HB 341 prohibits certain insurance contracts by making them unenforceable. In particular, it targets insurance contracts that allow providers to bill for out-of-network services.

Rating: -3

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

HB 341 creates a new chapter of Idaho Code called the "No Surprises Act" that attempts to prohibit health care providers from charging higher rates for out-of-network services. The language explicitly states that "a provider shall not bill or seek reimbursement for services rendered" for amounts that exceed those stipulated by the new law.

(-1)

Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

HB 341 has the potential to shut down independent providers (those who operate outside of an insurance provider's network) by prohibiting them from setting their rates based on market conditions. Furthermore, HB 341 may end up encouraging medical providers to consolidate under large corporate umbrellas. Prohibitions and billing restrictions such as those imposed by HB 341 distort the market and can lead to the formation of monopolies and oligopolies.

(-1)

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

HB 341 explicitly violates the freedom of contract by stating that "any provision in a consent form or other agreement that purports to permit a provider to bill or seek reimbursement for amounts in excess of the amounts permitted under this chapter is void and unenforceable." By disallowing the enforcement of voluntary contracts, HB 341 violates a fundamental right and attempts to substitute government force and central planning for the spontaneous order of the free market.

(-1)

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