FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Suzy DeFrancis
EMPLOYERS WARN CONGRESS: DON’T MAKE OUR EMPLOYEES PAY THE BILL FOR
YOUR PATIENTS’ BILL OF RIGHTS
Washington, DC, March 3, 1999 – As the 106th
Congress begins debating issues such as health care, employers are
speaking out against legislation that would raise health care costs for
businesses and families – at a time when costs are already on the
rise. The Health Benefits Coalition announced today that it is running
radio and print ads in the Washington, DC media market featuring employers
voicing concerns about the unintended consequences of proposed health care
mandates. (Ad attached in
script and RealAudio)
"These are real employers who are already facing real increases in
their health insurance. What will they tell their employees when
Washington cost increases force them to scale back or drop health care
coverage?" stated Dan Danner, chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition.
Federal mandates on top of current cost increases – plus the threat of
unlimited liability – would make it impossible for many businesses to
offer coverage, or for many employees to afford it. U.S. employers face a
predicted 7-10% rise in health care costs in 1999 – nearly three times as
much as 1998 and the biggest increase in seven years (William Mercer,
Inc.). For small businesses the impact is even greater – in some cases
increases of 20% or more.
"Our insurance costs already went up this year. That made it even
harder to provide coverage for my employees. I’m not asking for Congress’
help. But the least they can do is not make things worse," states
an employer in one ad.
A recent Georgia State University study shows that of the nations 43.5
million uninsured Americans, up to one out of four are uninsured due to
the cost of government mandates.
The ads point specifically to cost increases resulting from the
Kennedy-Dingell bill (S. 6, H.R. 358), "There’s a new bill in Congress –
Ted Kennedy’s Patients’ Bill of Rights. No, it won’t provide insurance to
43 million uninsured Americans. No, it won’t make insurance cheaper.
Instead, it increases costs by more than $200 per family and leaves two
million more uninsured."
"This legislation could price employers – who voluntarily provide
coverage to three out of four working Americans – out of offering health
benefits entirely," stated Danner. "Congress should be encouraging
businesses to provide health coverage – not making it impossible for them
to do so."
In addition to running inside-the-beltway, business owners were
featured nationwide in radio ads during the February congressional recess
as part of the Health Benefits Coalition’s ongoing efforts to educate
Congress and the public about the unintended consequences of
big-government mandates on America’s health care system.
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