Contact: Suzy DeFrancis
(202) 973-3610
Renae Wagner
(202 973-1376

Health Benefits Coalition Statement On The Patient Protection Act

Washington, DC, February 3, 1999 - We are disappointed that last year's Patient Protection Act has been reintroduced by Representative Bilirakis (R-FL). The mandates included in this bill will drive up health care costs - which are already on the rise - and increase the number of uninsured Americans.

We are encouraged, however, that the bill does not include the liability provision that is the centerpiece of the Kennedy-Dingell Patients' Bill of Rights - exposing health plans, and the employers who sponsor them, to costly new lawsuits. In addition to lining the pockets of trial lawyers, this provision is estimated to increase premiums by 8.6% and force nearly two million more people to lose their coverage next year (Barents Group, 1998).

Although the Patient Protection Act does not go as far as the Kennedy-Dingell bill, it still goes too far and too fast in substituting "Washington knows best" regulations for the flexibility and innovation of our private health care market. It is unfortunately another case of a well-intended approach having serious unintended consequences when packaged as federal legislation.


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.