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Employees Of Business Roundtable Companies Speak Out Against Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy Bill
Contact: John Schachter

(202) 872-1260
Release Date: 09/26/2000

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Employees of companies that are members of The Business Roundtable warned today at a press conference hosted by Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-AR) that new lawsuits and rising health care costs resulting from the Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy patients’ bill of rights would have a severe impact on the health benefits they depend upon. Terry Flaherty of Caterpillar Inc. and Michael Toohey of Ashland Inc. both shared their personal experiences about the benefits of employer-sponsored health coverage, and urged Congress to reject legislation that would jeopardize their health care, including the Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy bill. As a result, The Business Roundtable renewed its urging that Congress reject new health care lawsuits such as those contained in the legislation.

“Contrary to what the supporters of Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy claim, unlimited health care lawsuits will do nothing to improve health care,” said Samuel L. Maury, President of The Business Roundtable. “In fact, by forcing employers to think twice about the coverage they currently offer their employees, unlimited lawsuits could cost hard-working families certain benefits they’ve come to rely on, and could even cost them their health insurance,” said Maury.

A large majority of insured Americans (160 million people) receive their health coverage from their employers. But if faced with the probability of being hauled into court and subjected to jury trials and costly damages, many employers would be forced to reevaluate their roles in providing health benefits. Independent surveys have shown that one-third of large employers and nearly one-half of small employers would seriously consider dropping employee health coverage. New health care lawsuits would further burden employers, workers and their families by driving up the cost of health insurance and forcing millions more into the growing ranks of the uninsured. This would come at a time when health care costs are already increasing by as much as 30 percent across the country.

“Subjecting employers to unlimited lawsuits would threaten America’s employer-based health care system and only worsen the crisis of America’s uninsured. Congress can achieve meaningful patient protections through an independent external review process without jeopardizing the quality health benefits millions of employees currently enjoy,” said Maury.

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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 in the United States. The chief executives are committed to advocating public policies that foster vigorous economic growth and a dynamic global economy.

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