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Advocates Debunk Misinformation Campaign, Implore Governor to Veto SB 1122
Date:6/9/2009

Legislation will cripple the networks that hold down health care costs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- It's been sold as merely changing an address -- the address to which a payment for services is sent. But SB 1122 will have vast, negative consequences to consumers and the State, consumer advocates warn.

"If you have health insurance, this bill will cost you money," said Walter Dartland, executive director of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast. "Now, in the toughest economy of our lifetimes, is not the time to put an additional financial burden on working Floridians."

Proponents of the bill ran a potent misinformation campaign that Dartland said has obscured the facts on a complicated but vitally important issue. Proponents contend SB 1122 will not affect doctors' participation in preferred provider networks (PPOs), will not result in "balance billing" to patients, will not have a fiscal impact to the State, has been successfully adopted by other states, and is supported by Humana, which operates a PPO. Here are the facts:

FACT 1.

SB 1122 will undermine PPO networks by eliminating the key incentive for doctors to participate in networks - the guarantee of prompt, direct payment. If insurers are forced to pay doctors directly - even if doctors are unwilling to offer a discounted rate - there is no incentive for doctors to join networks and offer a discount. This will lead directly to higher health costs for businesses, workers and patients.

FACT 2.

SB 1122 eliminates the market force that effectively restrains balance billing of patients. By participating in a network, doctors agree to accept the payment of the insurer as payment in full, and not bill patients any additional amount. SB 1122 will guarantee non-network doctors direct payment - without any such guarantee for patients. This will open the door
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SOURCE Consumer Federation of the Southeast
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