FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Suzy DeFrancis
Clinton "Patients' Bill of Rights" Takes Away
Right to Affordable Health Care for Millions of
New poll shows Americans favor access to affordable health care
over "tougher regulations on HMOs"
Washington, DC, January 20, 1999 - In his State of the
Union address Tuesday, President Clinton pushed for passage of a Patients'
Bill of Rights that would deny millions of Americans the right to
affordable health care. The Kennedy-Daschle bill, which the president
endorsed, is the most costly big government health care plan since
ClintonCare. It would increase already rising health care costs, forcing
nearly two million Americans to lose their health care coverage next year.
Yet a new poll shows eight out of ten Americans
believe the current health care system is meeting their needs and are more
concerned with rising health care costs and diminishing access to coverage
than "tougher regulations on HMOs."
"Instead of making health care more expensive, as the president's
proposals would do, Congress should work to help reduce health care costs
and increase coverage," said Dan Danner, chairman of the Health Benefits
Coalition, which represents more than three million employers providing
health care coverage to 100 million Americans and their families. "It's
time to address America's right to affordable health care coverage,
something the president's State of the Union address failed to do."
A new poll conducted last week by Public Opinion Strategies found
support for HMO reform drops dramatically once people find out that this
legislation could increase health care costs and make insurance less
accessible to many Americans. (Summary of findings attached.)
- 82% of registered voters said Congress should make sure more people
have "access to affordable health care" rather than making sure that
"there are tougher regulations on HMOs" (14%).
- 50% say Congress should make sure it "does not pass any
legislation that would raise the cost of insurance premiums which could
force many Americans and small businesses to drop their health
- 45% of the people who initially favored an HMO patients' bill
of rights, say they would then oppose this legislation if "it
will raise the cost of everyone's health insurance premiums by roughly
$200 a year."
In addition, by opening the health care system to a flood of new
lawsuits, the president's bill of rights is estimated to increase premiums
by 8.6% and force nearly two million more people to lose their coverage
next year (Barents Group, 1998). Many employers would have to trim
benefits or drop health insurance entirely out of fear that one lawsuit
could bankrupt their business.
"This bill goes too far, too fast, with too much big government and
would drive up health care costs that are already on the rise, undermining
our ability to cover working families," said Danner.
The Health Benefits Coalition is a broad-based organization
representing three million employers providing health care coverage to
more than 100 million employees and families. The coalition believes
affordable, quality health care is best achieved through broader coverage,
choice and competition in the marketplace -not government