Bipartisan fix for ‘surprise’ medical bills hits roadblock with powerful chairman

It’s not looking good for a surprise billing fix in Congress.

A broad bipartisan effort to pass legislation protecting patients from massive “surprise” medical bills is now on life support as House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) digs in on a separate proposal.

Democratic and Republican leaders of three committees in the House and Senate have been pushing for months to pass their measure, which would prevent Americans from unexpectedly getting hit with medical bills for thousands of dollars for common scenarios like treatment from a doctor outside their insurance network when they require emergency care.

Neal has been holding out for his own rival proposal and has not shown any willingness to budge despite concessions offered by top lawmakers on the three committees.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) even stepped in over the weekend to speak to Neal in an effort to get him to compromise, sources said.