January 19, 1999

The Honorable
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region, we strongly urge you to refrain from cosponsoring the "Access to Quality Care Act" (H.R. 216) recently introduced by Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA).

Similar to last year’s "Patient Access to Responsible Care Act" (PARCA), the bill would impose hundreds of new federal regulations and open the door for trial lawyers to file frivolous suits against health plans and employers. With the number of uninsured on the rise, we cannot afford these types of reforms which will undoubtedly continue to drive up the cost of health care and drive employers away from providing health coverage for their employees.

Alternatively, we urge you to stay focused on measures that will help control costs and allow more people to purchase quality, affordable health coverage by allowing individuals, including the self-employed, to deduct 100 percent of their health care costs, and passing the Employer Portability and Health Insurance Act (EPHIC), introduced in the last Congress. The EPHIC bill would allow small businesses to pool together to purchase health care more efficiently.

Again, we urge you to refrain from cosponsoring the "Access to Quality Care Act" and other similar health care bills that will increase costs and drive more people into the ranks of the uninsured.


R. Bruce Josten