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

Employers Expand Patients’ Rights Advertising Campaign

Ads Thank House Members for Supporting Common-Sense Reforms While Opposing Unlimited Health Care Lawsuits

Washington, DC, August 22, 2000 — Numerous national employer groups announced today they will begin running advertisements thanking US Representatives for supporting sensible health care reforms but opposing unlimited new health care lawsuits such as those found in the Kennedy-Dingell-Norwood patients’ bill of rights. The print ads, which are signed by 14 employer groups including The Business Roundtable, National Federation of Independent Business, National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will run in Arkansas (Rep. Dickey), Indiana (Rep. Hostettler), Kentucky (Reps. Fletcher and Northup), North Carolina (Rep. Hayes) and Washington state (Rep. Nethercutt). Employers are also currently running radio ads in Michigan and Missouri.

"Thanks, Congressman [NAME], for supporting a patients’ bill of rights that’s right for [STATE]," reads the ad. "It’s right to improve our health care. It’s right to help the uninsured. It’s right to stand up to special interests like rich trial lawyers who want costly new lawsuits against employers. It’s right to protect businesses and families by supporting employer-sponsored health care and working to ensure that family premiums are affordable."

The Kennedy-Dingell-Norwood patients’ bill of rights does nothing to protect employers, who voluntarily provide health insurance to their workers, from unlimited health care lawsuits – a fact confirmed by numerous legal analyses of the bill. Employers would be subject to jury trials in state courts and face costly punitive damages, just for providing health coverage to their employees. Rather than face such a risk, many employers would be forced to stop providing health insurance to their employees. Even if employers could effectively be shielded from unlimited liability, which the Kennedy-Dingell-Norwood bill does not do, businesses would still bear higher costs as health plans fall victim to more of the trial lawyers’ lawsuits. In many cases, these higher costs will be passed on directly to employees and families.

A copy of one of the print ads is 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.