FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KERRY LYNN SCHMIT
NAM SAYS NORWOOD HEALTH CARE BILL IS 'MORE OF THE SAME BAD
WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 7, 1999 - The National Association of
Manufacturers today sharply criticized the Access to Quality Care Act,
introduced yesterday by Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA), calling it a
"regrettable rehash of last year's doomed and misguided attempt to reform
the health care system."
"This 'new' bill is loaded with the same morass of mandates,
regulations and legal landmines as last year's version, only this time it
looks even more like the bill Sen. Ted Kennedy advocated in 1998," said
Neil Trautwein, the NAM's health care lobbyist. "It's certainly not the
moderate bill we had hoped would help set the tone for the health care
debate this Congress.
"Small manufacturers will quickly drop health coverage rather than face
a business-killing lawsuit," said Trautwein, noting that last year,
Norwood authored PARCA (the Patient Access to Responsible Coverage Act),
which introduced the concept of allowing employees to sue employers for
health plan decisions. PARCA also was vigorously opposed by the NAM and
other business organizations.
"We simply cannot support any bill that will turn our health care
system into a cash cow for lawyers and government bureaucrats. The new
mandates and provider protections it includes - not to mention its
employer liability provisions - will send health costs through the roof
and inevitably lead to greater numbers of uninsured Americans.
"This kind of litigation-happy, 'government knows best' approach to
health care reform is exactly the wrong approach to take," Trautwein
concluded. "Our hope is that other members of the House will see the
serious shortcomings in the Access to Quality Care Act, and will not sign
on as co-sponsors of this misbegotten son of PARCA and the Patients' Bill
of Rights Act."