Cancer Advocates Applaud 2nd Circuit for Protecting Patients from Surprise Billing

Preservation of the No Surprises Act (NSA) Protects Patients from Overwhelming Financial Burden Caused by Hidden Costs for Cancer Treatment

January 24, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.— January 24, 2023 — Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision in the case of Haller v. Health and Human Services (HHS) upholding the U.S. District Court’s ruling preserving the provisions of the No Surprises Act (NSA) that prohibit patients from receiving surprise bills for unexpected out-of-network costs. However, the case was remanded back to the lower court for reconsideration of the issue of payments between providers and insurers.  

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) filed an amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, brief in the case in August, urging the circuit court to uphold the law and keep the lower court’s ruling in place.  

Nearly a quarter of cancer patients and survivors report having received a surprise medical bill prior to the passage of the NSA, according to ACS CAN survey data, and over half report incurring medical debt.   

A statement on behalf of Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN follows:  

“The costs of cancer in the U.S. are dangerously unaffordable for patients. Prior to this law, too many people with cancer received surprise bills that financially burdened their families and led to worse health outcomes and higher mortality rates, according to ACS research.  

“Cancer patients are especially apt to encounter these kinds of bills as they often must see a variety of providers at multiple facilities. For the more than 1.9 million people in the U.S. expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year alone, it’s critical we uphold protections like the NSA that aim to make health care more affordable and give more people a fighting chance at survival.  

“No one should have to struggle to pay basic bills, deplete their savings or face bankruptcy because of a cancer diagnosis. We applaud the court for protecting patients from the burden of surprise medical bills and debt by preserving the provisions Congress gave patients when it passed the NSA.” 

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