Suzy DeFrancis
(202) 973-3610
Todd Irons
(202) 973-2927

New Employer Ads Thank Senators for Supporting Real Health Care Reforms While Opposing "Payoff" for Trial Lawyers

Washington, DC, August 21, 2000 - Major employer groups nationwide announced today they will launch new radio advertising urging members of the Senate to "keep on fighting" for common-sense health care reforms-while opposing unlimited lawsuits that will result in higher costs and more uninsured. The ads, which will air in selected states starting August 20th, are sponsored by The Business Roundtable, National Federation of Independent Business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.

"America's employers - large and small - are the backbone of our health care system, but we cannot continue to provide health insurance to millions of employees and their families if unlimited lawsuits drive up costs," said Dan Danner, Chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition. "We urge the Congress to support common-sense health care reforms-not a political pay-off to the trial lawyers."

The Senate has passed a patients' bill of rights that keeps health care costs down, ensures that more Americans have health insurance, and provides patients with important protections. These protections include allowing better access to emergency rooms and specialists, putting doctors in charge of medical decisions and holding HMOs accountable. The Senate-passed bill differs from the Kennedy-Dingell-Norwood bill, which was defeated twice in the Senate, in that it would not subject employers to unlimited lawsuits that could force many to drop health care coverage for their workers.

The ads feature an employer from each state discussing why the issue is important: "My employees depend on me for their insurance, and I'm depending on [name of Senator] to make sure we get a real patients' bill of rights. We need better health care, not higher premiums." The ads go on to explain that "trial lawyers and their friends in Congress are blocking these reforms, insisting on a political payoff that would mean more lawsuits, higher premiums and more uninsured.... (Script attached)

This latest advertising effort is one of many that employer groups have undertaken throughout the year on the issue of a patients' bill of rights.

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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.