Subject: I’m strongly “Opposed” to AB 72 (Bonta).
As a physician anesthesiologist, I routinely treat patients during life’s most difficult and uncertain moments, often in life-sustaining surgeries. I agree that patients should not be surprised by out-of-network charges that can arise during these difficult times.
However, AB 72 (Bonta) shifts the onus of arranging for patient care from health plans and insurers onto physicians like me who might not be able to reach contract agreements with health care services plans and insurers.
As such, I’m concerned the net effect of this bill will be to disincentivize health plans and insurers from negotiating fair payment arrangements with physicians and building adequate provider networks.
Moreover, AB 72 (Bonta) requires physicians to be responsible for appealing, then arbitrating compensation disputes…a losing battle and a time consuming process that takes time way from our practice…time better spent caring for our patients.
Most troubling of all, this bill undermines my right to negotiate a fair contract with health plans and insurers by statutorily imposing on me payments that another physician has accepted as the value of their services. Contracted rates of payment already represent substantial discounts to usual and customary market rates. AB 72 (Bonta) will rapidly force a spiral of even lower rates (driven by health plan and insurers) leading to even more restricted provider networks and further reduce access to quality health care for all Californians.
Suggested amendments by the California Medical Association that would have removed our opposition have been summarily rejected by the author and sponsor. Therefore, I strongly urge your “NO” vote on AB 72 (Bonta).