DeLuca: Republicans voted against consumer protections; bill would leave residents exposed to high medical costs

HARRISBURG, June 27 – Today the House Insurance Committee voted H.B. 564 out of committee. This bill as amended allows for the direct payment to any out-of-network healthcare provider. This measure compromises networks while driving the cost of health care for consumers even higher, said Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny.

DeLuca, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, said Majority Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor, the prime sponsor of this bill, pushed the legislation to appease special interests.

House Republicans on the Insurance Committee voted in favor of the legislation, which DeLuca said indicates their allegiance to their political party instead of their constituents.

“This legislation is no good,” DeLuca said. “The bill puts residents at risk of high out-of-pocket costs and is at odds with what state legislators should be doing with their time in office. Instead of helping our residents, we’re exposing them to what possibly could be financial catastrophe.”

DeLuca said H.B. 564 initially was designed to direct insurance companies to pay a dentist directly for services rendered to a patient, but now includes all medical services. Also absent from this legislation are consumer protections. Under this bill, a patient’s insurance company will pay the provider directly, leaving the patient responsible for any additional amount billed by the provider. This is a win for providers and their health systems, not everyday Pennsylvanians.

This, DeLuca notes, puts patients at risk of obscene medical costs for out-of-network medical services.

“The Republicans today voted against consumer protections, they voted against the well-being of our residents, and they voted against residents’ best interest. That I cannot endorse, which is why I voted in opposition to this bill.”

House Bill 564 now moves to the House floor for further consideration.