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Suzy DeFrancis
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Public Believes Employers Would Drop Coverage and Trial Lawyers Would Benefit Most if Congress Allows New Health Care Lawsuits

New Survey Also Shows Voters Prefer Quick, Independent Review Over Ability to Go to Court

Washington, DC, February 10, 2000Armed with new polling data showing the public believes employers will drop health coverage and trial lawyers, not patients, will benefit most if Congress opens the health care system to unlimited lawsuits, the Health Benefits Coalition today urged House and Senate conferees not to rush to pass a patients’ bill of rights that would have damaging long-term consequences on the health care system.

"Congress needs to take a deep breath and carefully consider the consequences of what it is about to do. This survey clearly shows voters fear employers will drop health benefits for their workers and trial lawyers will cash-in if Congress allows these new lawsuits," said Dan Danner, chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition. "With costs rising and the number of uninsured growing now is not the time to put the employer-sponsored health care system on trial," said Danner.

Specifically, the survey of 800 registered voters, which was conducted for the Health Benefits Coalition by Public Opinion Strategies on January 10-12, found:

  • 67% believe trial lawyers will benefit more from expanding health care lawsuits than patients will.
  • 56% believe it is better to pass a bill now that allows for a quick independent review of denied care than to hold out for new health care lawsuits.
  • 68% oppose allowing such new lawsuits if they allow employers to be sued.
  • 80% believe it likely that employers will drop coverage if they could be sued.

"The public knows who the real winners and losers will be if Congress allows new health care lawsuits, and they are making it clear that they want a patients’ bill of rights, not a lawyer’s right to bill," said Danner.

The coalition also unveiled a letter today to House and Senate managed care conferees urging them to resist election year pressures to expand health care lawsuits.

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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.