Todd Irons
(202) 973-2927
Suzy DeFrancis
(202) 973-3610

Employers Commit $1 Million to Protect Health Insurance of 1.3 Million Americans

New Ad Campaign Thanks Senators for Opposing Unlimited Lawsuits in Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy Patients’ Bill of Rights

Washington, DC, September 21, 2000 — National employer groups representing large and small employers announced today they will spend $1 million on an advertising campaign to stop the Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy patients’ bill of rights, which if enacted would jeopardize the health insurance of more than one million Americans. The two-week radio and print advertising campaign will take place in Missouri, Michigan, Washington state, Delaware and Washington DC.

"The supporters of Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy are fighting tooth and nail for a bill that will reward trial lawyers, but this political pay-off will cost more than one million Americans their health insurance," said Dan Danner, Chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition. "With Election Day approaching, its time for Congress to choose between trial lawyers and hard-working families."

The print and radio ads urge voters to thank their Senator for voting for a real patients’ bill of rights that provides important patient protections, including giving patients better access to emergency rooms and specialists, putting doctors in charge of medical decisions and holding HMOs accountable. The ads also thank these Senators for voting against the Dingell-Norwood Kennedy bill, which would increase health care costs and force more than one million people to lose their health insurance.

By allowing new, unlimited lawsuits against employers, Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy would force many employers to stop offering health care coverage to their employees rather than face the risk of a ruinous lawsuit. Even if they are not sued directly, employers and their employees will still face higher costs resulting from the flood of new lawsuits into the health care system. Either way, if Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy passes 1.3 million more Americans would lose their insurance (Barents Group LLC, CBO). Amazingly, the "new" Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy bill would expose employers to even more liability.

"Employers are already struggling to provide their employees with health coverage as costs continue to rise. Most small employers are now at the breaking point. The Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy patients’ bill of rights would force many employers to drop coverage, sending millions more into the ranks of the 45 million adults and children without health insurance," said Danner.

Scripts of the radio ad and copies of the print ads are attached.

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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 mandates.