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BRT Mounts All-Out Effort Opposing Health Care Mandates and New Lawsuits
Contact: Johanna Schneider

Release Date: 07/01/1999

The Business Roundtable Takes Campaign to the States During July 4th Congressional Recess

Washington, DC, July 1, 1999 - From television and radio ads to grassroots and CEO calls, The Business Roundtable (BRT) announced today that it is mounting an all-out, multi-state effort to oppose federal health care mandates and new lawsuits such as those contained in the Kennedy-Dingell "Patients' Bill of Rights" (S.6). With votes on health care legislation looming in both the House and Senate following the July 4 congressional recess, The Business Roundtable is intensifying its efforts to educate Congress and the American public about the harmful consequences of health care mandates, which are higher costs, a flood of new lawsuits and more uninsured Americans.

"We are fighting for independence from health care premium increases this 4th of July," said Samuel L. Maury, president of The Business Roundtable. "This 'bill of rights' could turn out to be a 'bill of goods' for Americans who will lose their health insurance coverage," he continued. "This legislation will actually leave millions of Americans unprotected by driving up costs and forcing employers to either increase premiums, reduce benefits or stop providing coverage altogether."

BRT believes the very future of employer-sponsored health care could be jeopardized by a provision in the Kennedy bill that would expose health plans, and the employers who sponsor them, to medical malpractice lawsuits.

"Patients want cures, not lawsuits. You can't sue your way to quality health care," said Maury. "Congress must reject the trial lawyers' latest litigation target-employers who voluntarily provide health care to their employees. With 43 million Americans already uninsured, it makes no sense for Congress to add another 1.5 million people to the roles," he concluded. Under the Kennedy bill, not only could health plans be sued for malpractice, but for the first time employers could be made liable, as well. Under Kennedy's bill, the federal government would be exempt from such expanded liability.

Employers represented by The Business Roundtable are also concerned that the legislation would increase health care costs at a time when businesses are already experiencing the biggest hike in health care costs in seven years. The ads reference estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office showing the Kennedy-Dingell bill would raise premiums 4.8 percent, which would result in added costs of more than $200 per family and force nearly 1.5 million more Americans into the ranks of the uninsured.

The BRT's TV and radio ads will run during the July 4th recess in selected states. (Ads attached) The Roundtable is also partnering with local business leaders in targeted districts throughout the country to persuade lawmakers against expanding liability. Joining with coalitions of local women, African American and Hispanic business owners, the BRT is organizing letters to Members of Congress, fact-to-face meetings and media events. BRT is also participating in an extensive advertising campaign against the Kennedy-Dingell bill with the Health Benefits Coalition, a broad-based organization representing three million employers of which BRT is a member.

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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.

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