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Renae Newmiller
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Physicians Produce Phantom Bill Under the Guise of Patient Protection

Not so long ago, in a Congress not so far away, Charlie Norwood introduced health care legislation that would raise the cost of health insurance. Today, he has returned with the same legislation in hand.

Washington, DC, May 18, 1999 – Representative Charlie Norwood (R-GA) has joined forces with fellow physician Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) in his on-going quest to revive his failed managed health care mandate bill. Unfortunately, his latest sequel – the Consensus Managed Care Improvement Act – is more like a rerun, proving just as menacing as earlier attempts with the same troubling outcome of higher health care costs and millions more uninsured.

In the name of patient protection, the Norwood-Coburn-Shadegg bill will ultimately leave patients unprotected. Similar to the Kennedy-Dingell bill, this legislation is full of big government mandates that will drive up costs and the number of uninsured.

"Norwood’s sequel gets two thumbs down," stated Dan Danner, chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition. "It contains nearly all of the same costly provisions that Congressman Norwood has been trying to repackage for over a year now. Rather than offer a true alternative, the Norwood-Coburn-Shadegg bill punishes and burdens employers who voluntarily provide health coverage and the millions of Americans who receive it."

One of the most alarming provisions contained in the Norwood-Coburn-Shadegg bill is the liability provision. Representatives Norwood, Coburn and Shadegg claim that their bill includes safe harbors to protect businesses. But the only way employers can escape liability under this bill is to give up any responsibility for benefit decisions affecting their employees. Even if this bill could effectively shelter employers from lawsuits and direct liability – which this bill does not – 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 to drop coverage entirely.

The Health Benefits Coalition urges Congress to oppose Norwood’s latest bill, as well as any legislation that increases costs and decreases coverage for hard working American families.


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.