FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Renae Wagner
Norwood Tries to Revive Health Care
New bill strives to bring PARCA and Kennedy-Dingell back to
Statement by the Health Benefits Coalition
At a press conference today on Capitol Hill, Rep. Charlie
Norwood (R-Ga.) is expected to announce a 1999 version of his failed
Patient Access to Responsible Care Act (PARCA). This bill incorporates the
worst measures of PARCA and the Kennedy-Dingell Patients' Bill of
Washington, DC, January 7, 1999 - Beating the Democrats to the
punch, Representative Charlie Norwood today will announce a new bill - the
"Access to Quality Care Act" - which is another attempt to revive a scary
combination of his ill-fated PARCA and the Democrats' Patients' Bill of
Rights. Unfortunately, his latest revisions amount to little more than
last year's Democratic bill in Republican clothing.
"It is not surprising that Mr. Norwood would try again to re-write a
bill that he referred to repeatedly last year as a 'work in progress.' But
as his latest attempt proves, big government mandates are the wrong
prescription for health care-no matter how they are written," stated Dan
Danner, chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition.
While claiming to "protect" patients, both PARCA and the
Kennedy-Dingell bill would have left millions of Americans "unprotected"
by driving up health care costs and forcing millions of Americans to lose
their health care coverage entirely. The Kennedy bill was the most costly
government health care bill introduced since the Clinton health care plan.
Congressman Norwood's new bill will have an equally devastating impact on
working families and is full of big government health care mandates.
A 1998 Barents Group study showed that the expanded liability provision
alone - included in Norwood's new bill - is estimated to increase
premiums by 8.6% and force nearly two million more people to lose their
Representative Norwood claims that his revisions exempt employers from
liability for medical decisions. But the only way employers can escape
liability under his bill is to give up any responsibility for benefit
decisions affecting their employees. Even if his bill could effectively
shelter employers from lawsuits and direct liability-which his proposal
does not accomplish-the costs of expanded liability would still be passed
on to employers, employees and their families. With premiums already on
the rise, the additional costs of liability would force many
employers-particularly small businesses-to drop coverage entirely.
The Health Benefits Coalition urges Congress not to be fooled by
Norwood's latest bill and to oppose all legislation that increases costs
and decreases coverage for hard working American families.
The coalition, which was very active in opposing health care mandates
in the 105th Congress, has pledged to continue its efforts in the 106th
beginning with new advertising that is running in today's Roll Call.
The ad calls on Congress to 'First do no harm' by opposing any health
care legislation that would increase costs and force millions more
Americans into the ranks of the uninsured - something the Norwood bill
would surely do. (A copy of the ad is attached.)
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