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

Statement by the Health Benefits Coalition

On Kennedy-Dingell "Offer"

to Revise Liability in Patients’ Bill of Rights

"After months and years of claiming that Dingell-Norwood does not put employers at risk of new lawsuits, its supporters have finally admitted that it does. But their offer this week to fix the problem is woefully inadequate. It still does not protect employers from being hauled into court. As ERISA legal experts Frank Sabatino and David Kenty wrote in an opinion yesterday:

‘Employers would still be subject to a ‘tidal wave’ of state court litigation should this proposal become law.’

—Frank Sabatino and David Kenty
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, LLP
May 25, 2000

Dingell-Norwood backers have still not addressed the fundamental flaw in their bill, which is that someone has to pay for the litigation lottery it creates. Employers will pay either directly in court or indirectly as new lawsuits drive up the cost of health care. And, ultimately, the American people will pay as their health insurance premiums go up and many are forced into the growing ranks of the 44 million uninsured."

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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.