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BRT Airs Opposition to Health Care Lawsuits
TV Ad Urges Congress to Oppose Norwood Bill

Contact: Johanna Schneider

(202) 872-1260
Release Date: 10/01/1999

Washington, DC - As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on patients' rights legislation, The Business Roundtable (BRT) announced a TV advertising blitz to voice their opposition to legislation that would make employers the target of new health care lawsuits. The ad points to the devastating impact the Norwood legislation would have on hard-working Americans, families and businessmen and women.

"The BRT member companies provide health benefits to more than 25 million Americans and work hard to ensure their employees receive the best health care possible," said Samuel L. Maury, president of The Business Roundtable. "However, the threat of a looming lawsuit could force employers to seriously reconsider whether and how they could continue to provide health benefits to their employees."

In the ad, which begins this weekend and will run through the House vote, a business owner states, "I could be sued for providing health insurance for my employees? That could cost me my business." (Script attached)

A recent analysis by independent legal experts shows that the Norwood legislation would put all employers at risk of lawsuits in state court over the health care benefits they provide. The analysis concludes, "The Dingell-Norwood bill would dramatically change the way that group health benefit claims are litigated in the United States. State personal injury law, both procedural and substantive, would come to dominate virtually all aspects of managed care. Employers would be subject to state law causes of action, replete with jury trials, extra-contractual damages, and punitive damages. It would be an entirely new day in this aspect of employee benefits law. Anyone who claims the contrary is simply failing to comprehend the thrust of the legislation." (Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP)

In addition to expanded liability, the Norwood bill contains many of the same high-priced mandates that are in the Gephardt-Dingell bill (H.R.358) - a bill the Congressional Budget Office said would raise premiums 6.1%, impose $56 billion in mandates on the private sector and would "have a significant effect on costs."

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The Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading corporations with a combined workforce of more than 10 million employees, providing health benefits to over 25 million Americans. The chief executives are committed to advocating public policies that foster vigorous economic growth and a dynamic global economy.

Series of 3 typical Americans voice their concerns
Super/ Title:
New Health Care Regulations: You Pay the Price.

Super: Raises premiums for every family.

Super: Many families lose their insurance.

Super: 57% of small businesses may drop coverage.

Super: Call 1-800-384-7023 and tell Congress to oppose the Norwood bill.

Anncr V/O:
Congress is about to change your health insurance… And you’ll pay the price.

American 1: Man I gotta pay more for new government regulations? I can barely afford insurance now.

American 2: Mother/Child I’ll lose my coverage if costs go up… what if my kids get sick?

American 3: Employer I could be sued for providing health insurance for my employees? That could cost me my business.

American 1: Man-Repeat Pay more or lose our insurance? Doesn’t Congress care what happens to us?

Anncr: Call Congress now and say you can’t afford this bill.

Paid for by the Business Roundtable


* Provisions in the Dingell-Norwood bill will increase health care costs. Dingell-Norwood contains many of the same mandates found in the Kennedy-Dingell bill (S.6), which the Congressional Budget Office determined would raise health care premiums by 6.1 percent.

* Higher costs resulting from Dingell-Norwood will increase the uninsured. The Lewin Group estimates that every one percent increase in premiums results in 300,000 more uninsured.

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