Today, an Assembly panel is scheduled to discuss the 'Healthcare Disclosure and Transparency Act.' The bill is sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Gary Schaer.

Republican lawmakers are very concerned about the potential effects of the bill on patients and physicians, especially when out-of-network coverage and payment issues arise.

"This bill, which I have nicknamed the 'Patient Collection Act,' makes it harder for family doctors to focus on treating their patients," says Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union. "There is a real potential for doctors and specialists to move their practice somewhere else unless these kinds of issues are resolved. A patient's right to decide what is their best course of treatment should be based on conversations with their doctor, not on carriers who have created an unmanageable bureaucracy for both the patient and doctor."

Schaer says, "This legislation seeks to give New Jerseyans the information they need to make informed, financially prudent decisions regarding their own medical care. It will help New Jerseyans make the right choices and protect them from unexpected medical costs."

Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible says, "Based on the provision of this bill that requires a doctor to make three good faith and timely attempts at collecting payment from a patient and keeping records for seven years, I also believe it is more appropriate to name it the 'Patient Collection Act.' We need to let doctors practice medicine and respect their expertise in their specialty instead of having medical treatment decisions being made by a carrier's accountant."

Bramnick and Rible are worried the bill will lead some doctors to actually sue the very patients they are treating.

Schaer says, "In no way, under any reasonable view, will it entice doctors to sue their patients. Before Assembly Republicans hold their next news conference on one of my bills, they might want to give me a call. They'll find my door always to be open to them so I can explain the legislation to them and they can fully understand it."