FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Suzy DeFrancis
Dingell Tries To Revive Failed Health Care Bill
Washington, DC, May 27, 1999 – Circumventing the committee
process, Representative John Dingell (D-MI) is pushing a discharge
petition for his Patients’ Bill of Rights – a bill that was previously
rejected by both the House and Senate and is now going to cost 50% more
than originally estimated.
"Unfortunately, anyone who signs the Dingell discharge petition will be
signing up to raise the cost of family health care coverage and to force
more Americans to forgo health insurance altogether," stated Dan Danner,
chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition. "One of the most costly
provisions of this legislation – exposing employers to health care
liability – could put many businesses out of the business of providing
health care. In fact, just one lawsuit could put a small business out of
A recent cost analysis of the Kennedy-Dingell bill by the non-partisan
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the bill will increase
premiums 6.1 percent – a 50 percent increase over its last estimate of 4.1
percent nine months ago. This means the cost of family coverage will
increase by more than $350* and nearly 2 million more Americans will be
driven into the ranks of the uninsured.** CBO estimates that the cost of
private-sector mandates would total about $56 billion over the 2000-2004
period and would greatly exceed the annual threshold established in the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
Moreover, the CBO estimate does not take into account the fact that one
costly lawsuit, due to the liability provision contained in the
Kennedy-Dingell bill, could wipe out a small business – or that costs for
small businesses, which typically pay more for health care, are likely to
go up more than the 6.1 percent national average predicted by CBO.
"Health care costs are already rising and the number of uninsured is
already growing. Yet despite CBO’s warnings, some in Congress want to make
things worse," said Danner. "We urge Congress not to pass any legislation
that jeopardizes the health care of hard working Americans."
# # #
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
* KPMG’s "Health Benefits in 1998" – Average 1998 health care costs for
family coverage, adjusted to reflect 1999 and multiplied by .061 to
reflect CBO’s estimate of the effect of the Kennedy-Dingell Patients’ Bill
of Rights on premiums.
CBO – Analysis of the Kennedy-Dingell Patients’ Bill of Rights as
introduced estimates a 6.1% increase in premiums.
** The Lewin Group estimates that every 1% increase in premiums results
in 300,000 uninsured.