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Copyright 2000 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. 
(f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.)  
Federal Document Clearing House Congressional Testimony

March 02, 2000


LENGTH: 840 words


March 2, 2000 Opening Statement of Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer (R-TX) on the Patients' Bill of Rights Conference Committee: Mr. Chairman, as we begin this important session today, we must not lose sight of the real health care problem facing over 44 million Americans and their families - lack of the most basic patient protection of all through health insurance. While accountability in health care is an important aspect of the managed care debate, there are 44 million reasons why we need to broaden the focus to include affordability, accessibility and individual choice. More Americans may become uninsured unless we address the barriers to health care access. These barriers are preventing Americans from getting affordable care at a rate of nearly one million a year. Frankly, all the lawsuits in the world won't do a thing to help a worker struggling to buy health insurance for his or her family. The tax incentives contained in the House version will help make health care available and affordable for every generation, and I hope this panel will adopt them. Baby boomers caring for elderly family members at home will get much-needed help. We also help baby-boomers plan for future long term care needs with a 100 percent deduction for long- term care insurance premiums. A new family will also get help with its health 'insurance costs - costs that outpaced average household income last year by nearly 2-to-1. Small businesses - which create 95 percent of new jobs - will benefit with accelerated deductions for the self- employed so start-up companies can offer competitive benefits to attract and retain the best workers. Finally, nothing embodies the vision of choice and accessibility more than Medical Savings Accounts. Expanding MSAs will give consumers more control over their health care dollars, offering them the freedom to consult any doctor they choose, to lower their deductibles or premiums, and to save any unused funds for future health care expenses. With MSAs, patients- not insurance companies - control their choices. There are no gatekeepers or middlemen. So, while much of the attention throughout the course of this Conference Committee will be focused on who can sue what HMO and where, let's remember that we have a similar obligation to 44 million Americans who today have no health insurance. They deserve a seat at this table, along with all the lawyers and other special interests. The American people want the choice and freedom basic health coverage offers them, and that's the right kind of health care reform.

LOAD-DATE: March 6, 2000

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