Bonta Sends Governor Nation’s Strongest Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

Friday, September 2, 2016

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, the State Assembly sent the Governor AB 72, which, if signed, will make California home to the nation’s strongest consumer protections against surprise medical bills. The lead author, Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), made the following statement after the bill passed the Assembly on concurrence, with a bipartisan vote of 70 to 0:

“With the passage of AB 72 today, the Legislature finally tackles one of the longest-debated issues ever considered by the California State Legislature: protecting patients against surprise medical bills. No patient should pay for a surprise bill or be forced into bankruptcy because of a complicated and unfair billing system,” Bonta explained.

Today, when a patient undergoes a medical procedure and does everything right to keep costs down by going to an in-network facility, he or she can still unwittingly receive care from an out-of-network physician, who subsequently can bill them directly, bypassing the insurance company completely.

“AB 72 strikes a compromise between insurance companies and doctors that puts patients first and creates the strongest consumer protection law in the nation,” said Bonta.

“If AB 72 becomes law, California will finally end a practice that has for far too long bankrupted families and destroyed lives,” Bonta concluded.

AB 72 is joint authored by Assemblymembers from throughout the state, including Assemblymembers Susan Bonilla, Brian Dahle, Lorena Gonzalez, Brian Maienschein, Miguel Santiago, and Jim Wood. The bill is the result of a deep stakeholder engagement process and is sponsored by Health Access California and the California Labor Federation. Assemblymember Bonta has tackled the issue for the past two years, beginning with AB 533 of 2015.