Contacts: Renae Newmiller
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Who Will Pay the Price for New Health Care Regulations?

New TV ad warns Americans that they could end up paying
for Ganske and Kennedy bills.

Washington, DC, March 25, 1999 – As Congress begins to consider several "so-called" patients’ rights bills, the Health Benefits Coalition announced that it is gearing up for a major grassroots and media campaign that will span more than 25 congressional districts and 19 states during the Easter congressional recess. The coalition’s efforts include a new TV ad that points to American families and businesses as those who will pay the price for new health care regulations contained in the Ganske (H.R. 719) and Kennedy-Dingell (S.6, H.R. 358) bills.

To demonstrate how these bills will impact all Americans, the ad highlights several concerns: "I gotta pay more for new government regulations? I can barely afford insurance now," says the first man. "I’ll loose my coverage if costs go up … what if my kids get sick?" questions a mother with a child. "I could get sued just for providing health insurance to my employees? That could cost me my business," states a small business owner. (Script attached.)

"Through increased costs, lost health insurance and exposure to costly lawsuits, the Kennedy and Ganske bills pose a real threat to our health care system," stated Dan Danner, chairman of the Health Benefits Coalition. "We believe people are going to be very upset once they learn what these bills are going to cost them."

Although Representative Ganske claims that his bill is a different, affordable approach to health care reform, it contains nearly all of the same costly, big government mandates that are in the Kennedy bill. The Kennedy bill has been estimated to raise health care costs by $200 per family and could force another 2 million Americans into the ranks of the uninsured (based on data drawn from the Congressional Budget Office, Towers Perrin, and The Barents Group).

Both bills put health plans and the employers who sponsor them at risk of new lawsuits, punishing employers – who voluntarily provide health insurance – while rewarding trial lawyers, who pocket most of the money. At the same time, these lawsuits do nothing to help patients get the care they need when they need it. The expanded liability provision alone in the Kennedy-Dingell bill would raise premiums 8.6% (The Barents Group). And most businesses would be forced to pass this cost on to their employees or drop coverage all together. In fact, a Public Opinion Strategies poll showed 57% of small businesses would drop coverage if exposed to expanded liability.

"At a time when families and businesses are already experiencing an increase in their health care costs, Congress should not give Americans the ultimatum of pay more or lose your health insurance," said Danner.


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.