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12.21.2020 / Statement

Statement: Consumers First Commends Congress for Including Critical Provision from the Lower Health Care Cost Act in the COVID-19 Relief Package

Washington, D.C. – Consumers First: The Alliance to Make the Health Care System Work for Everyone released the following statement commending Congress for including a key provision from the Lower Health Care Cost Act in the legislative package to extend COVID-19 relief.

Consumers First,
the alliance that brings together the diverse interests representing families and children, working people, employers, and primary care, applauds Congress for including Sections 301 of the Lower Health Care Costs Act (S.1895, as passed on a bipartisan basis by the HELP Committee in 2019) in the legislative package that will extend COVID-19 relief and end surprise medical bills. Consumers First has been working with Congress to enact this provision into law since 2019.

The provision seeks to stop exploitative practices by some members of health care industry that unfairly drive up health care costs for families, workers, and employers—more crucial than ever as the country continues to grapple with the health and economic devastation from COVID-19. Enacting Section 301 into law will stop the practice of “gag clauses” that are used in contracts between health plans and providers that prevent patients, referring providers, payers and researchers from knowing actionable information about the cost and quality of health care.

The enactment of this provision into law marks a significant step forward in the effort to reign in the abusive practices from hospitals and health systems and other segments of the health care sector that are driving up health care costs and making health care unaffordable for our nation’s families, workers, and employers. Consumers First looks forward to continued work with Congress in the new year on bipartisan solutions that will stop other anticompetitive practices within the health care system to ensure all families receive affordable, high-quality health care and the good health they deserve.

Consumers First is an alliance that brings together the interests of families and children, working people, employers, and primary care working to change the fundamental economic incentives and design of the health care system. Our goal is to realign the incentives and design of health care so that the system truly delivers the health and high-quality care that all families across our nation deserve.