Contacts: Renae Newmiller
(202) 973-1376
Todd Irons
(202) 973-2927

Employers Launch Major Advertising Blitz To Oppose New Health Care Mandates And Lawsuits

Washington, DC, June 16, 1999 – As patients’ rights legislation begins to move through the House committee process, the Health Benefits Coalition launched a major advertising blitz today that uses print, radio and TV ads to warn Congress about the costly consequences of health care mandates and expanded liability. The ads point to concerns employers have with legislation – such as the Kennedy-Dingell patients’ bill of rights – that would lead to higher health care costs, more uninsured Americans and an onslaught of costly lawsuits. (Ads attached -- ad 1 and ad 2.)

Of special concern to employers is a liability provision in some bills that would put health plans – and the employers who sponsor them – at risk of being sued for medical malpractice. These bills would line the pockets of wealthy trial lawyers instead of helping patients get the care they need – when they need it. The costs of expanded liability would be passed on to employers, employees and their families.

"Twenty-one states and the president’s own hand-picked health care commission rejected exposing employers and health plans to costly new lawsuits," said Dan Danner, chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition. "The only people who still think this is a good idea are the trial lawyers and their allies in Congress."

The ads are based on a recent study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that said the Kennedy-Dingell bill will have a "significant effect on costs," increasing health care premiums by 6.1 percent and adding $56 billion more in mandates on the private sector over the next four years. This translates into $350 more for family coverage and would result in nearly two million more uninsured.

"America’s business owners are already struggling with rising health care costs. More mandates on top of this, plus the threat of new lawsuits, will drive those costs even higher, forcing millions more into the ranks of the uninsured and seriously jeopardizing the future of employer-sponsored health care," stated Danner.

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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.