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"Even Joe Lieberman Thinks Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy Goes Too Far."

New Employer Advertisement Urges Congress to Heed Democratic

Vice Presidential Nominee’s Concerns with Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy Bill

Washington, DC, October 10, 2000 — National employer groups today began running a print advertisement in Washington, DC that quotes Connecticut Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman opposing the Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy patients’ bill of rights and its unlimited lawsuits against employers.

"I think, with all respect, that the Democratic bill goes too far. It opens up the system to the unlimited right to sue and creates the same prospect for the lotteries that have been going on elsewhere in the tort system… And some small businesses and individual people will be priced out of health insurance by the costs that will be added as a result of run-away litigation," reads the advertisement, which quotes a statement made by Sen. Lieberman about the Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy bill during Senate consideration of the patients’ bill of rights on July 15, 1999. A copy of the ad is attached.

By allowing new, unlimited lawsuits against employers, the Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy bill 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 health insurance (Barents Group LLC, CBO). The newest Norwood-Ashcroft-McCain version of the patients’ bill of rights would be just as harmful to employers as the original Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy bill and would result in the same consequences.

"Senator Lieberman understands that Dingell-Norwood-Kennedy could force many employers out of the employer-sponsored health care system, especially small employers who today are barely able to provide their employees health coverage," said Dan Danner, Chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition. "His colleagues should heed his concerns on behalf of the 160 million Americans who rely on employer-provided health coverage, any one of whom could lose it if this bill becomes law."

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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.