Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, speaks during a nomination hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. The Trump administration's pick for solicitor of labor would be charged with overseeing one of the largest government legal shops and have independent authority to file lawsuits enforcing some 180 federal workplace statutes. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (Photo: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg)

Sen. Lamar Alexander is sounding optimistic about the future of a bill that might still contain a health insurance agent and broker compensation disclosure provision.

Early last week, Alexander reported that congressional leaders had left most of the health cost transparency provisions out of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (CCA 2020) — the legislative tugboat that pulled the Secure Act bill, repeal of a never-implemented Affordable Care Act tax on high-cost health benefits, and repeal of a rarely implemented ACA tax on health insurers through Congress.

(Related: Big Spending Bill Leaves Out Health Agent Comp Disclosure: Lamar Alexander)

But Alexander, a Republican who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced late Friday that House and Senate Democrats and Republicans have “reached a bipartisan, bicameral agreement” on health cost legislation.

Alexander and other health cost bill effort managers have tried to build broad, bipartisan support by including proposals from many members fo Congress.

The current inclusion includes proposals from 46 Democratic senators and 34 Republican senators, according to Alexander.

Alexander named many contributors in the bipartisan agreement announcement. The list includes Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J.; Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.;  Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif.; and Rep. Larry Buchshon, R-Ind.

The best-known provisions in the bill deal with concerns about “surprise medical bills,” or situations in which insured consumers get big, unexpected bills because they seek emergency care out of network, or because they go to in-network clinics or hospitals and end up being seen by out-of-network providers.

One problem for agents and brokers interested in the producer comp disclosure provision is that Alexander and others typically lump mentions of the producer comp disclosure provision in with references to a collection of “cost transparency provisions.”

Alexander and the other health cost bill negotiators have been slow to post current versions of the text, or detailed summaries, online, and it’s not clear whether the producer comp disclosure provision is still in the bill.

— Read Health Coverage May Get $348 Billion Spending Bill Booston ThinkAdvisor.

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