Surprise billing is no laughing matter, but we have to give it up to the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing for its new, lighter approach. In a series of new spots, the group uses humor—including one scene where an out-of-network barber charges a customer $200 for a haircut—to make its position clear.

The ads are specifically pointed at a gimmick called arbitration, in which the private equity groups that employ doctors and take them out of network, are now attempting to use to remove themselves from lawmakers’ microscopes. Stopping surprise billing has been a hot-button issue in Washington D.C. at all levels of government, including with President Donald Trump.

As a recap, a surprise bill is the result of a patient visiting a hospital they believe to be in network but receiving care from a provider who is not. It’s unfair, immoral and impacts about one in six patients—including those with insurance.

While arbitration might seem like a fair and equitable way to decide the fate of a patient’s charges, it fails to address the root of the problem. Instead of lowering the rates, it puts the decision in the hands of someone else with potentially little knowledge or awareness about how to set the rate in that particular market.

Even worse, if a rate is not favorable for the patient, it sets a bad precedent that could lead to more and more providers choosing to go out of network.

Each humorous ad ends in the same serious way. It reminds the viewer that arbitration won’t fix the flaws in surprise billing—only fair market-based prices will.

We couldn’t agree more, which is why we’ve been speaking out against this unfair practice for years. Check out the ads for yourself here, and sign-up below to find out what you can do to stop surprise billing.

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