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March 2000

CONTACTS: Frank Coleman/Linda Rozett

Thursday, March 2, 2000
Chamber Urges Health Care Conferees To Focus on Expanding Access, Not Liability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce warned House and Senate conferees that Americans want and need expanded access to health care coverage, not more litigation, in a statement released today.

"We urge the conferees to focus their efforts on the real health care problem in the United States today – the growing number of uninsured and the lack of access to affordable health coverage. Extending new benefits and expanding the right to sue doesn't do much for the 44 million Americans without any health coverage at all," according to Kate Sullivan, manager of health care policy for the Chamber.

"The Chamber calls on both House and Senate conferees to include the access measures each chamber has included in their proposals – tax deductions for individuals and the self-employed, pooled purchasing for small employers, ERISA-governed association health plans, expanded access to medical savings accounts and tax assistance for long-term care coverage.

"The Chamber strongly opposes eliminating ERISA preemption of state health plan liability laws and subjecting employers to lawsuits for punitive and non-economic damages. A better way to resolve disputes would be quick independent review of their claims," Sullivan noted.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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