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

The Dingell-Norwood Patients’ Bill of Rights – A Bad Bill That Got Even Worse

Statement by the Health Benefits Coalition

Washington, DC, September 14, 2000 — It was bad enough the original Dingell-Norwood patients’ bill of rights subjected employers to new, unlimited health care lawsuits. It was bad enough it put trial lawyers in charge of America’s health care system. It was bad enough it would increase health care costs and force more than a million Americans to lose their health insurance. But just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse – it did.

The latest incarnation of the Dingell-Norwood bill would allow costly, unlimited lawsuits in both state and federal courts, giving trial lawyers two bites at the apple. Also, this newest version allows a lawsuit to be filed even before any internal or external review proceedings are concluded. Moreover, despite claims to the contrary, it puts no caps on the huge damage awards it allows, and just like the original bill, employers would still be open to ruinous class-action lawsuits on top of unlimited lawsuits in state and federal court.

No wonder every major employer organization – representing both large and small employers – opposes this new bill.


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.