"Compromise" Proposal Should Not Compromise Consumers' Costs And Choices


February 5, 1999

CONTACT: Richard Coorsh

(202) 824-1787


The following statement was released today by Chip Kahn, President of the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA):

Backers of a bill announced today on Capitol Hill would have us believe that theirs is a "compromise" measure that defines a "middle road" on the way to more federal managed care mandates. Sadly, this so-called compromise instead would compromise the right of consumers to obtain affordable coverage. Under this bill, doctors and other health care providers would end up providing more medical care, not better medical care. As a result, health care costs would go up even more, and so would health insurance premiums. Additionally, this bill would deprive consumers a choice of health plans because it would force preferred provider organizations (PPOs) to convert into HMOs in order to comply with the bill's burdensome data collection rules.

Consumers deserve better. Already, they're facing the prospect of premium increases brought about by government regulation and increasing costs for health care and prescription drugs. Meanwhile, the high cost of health care is forcing more and more Americans to go without health insurance. Even under today's favorable economic conditions, an estimated one out of five non-elderly Americans will lack coverage by the year 2007.

President Clinton's commission on health care quality got it right by refusing to recommend new federal mandates on managed care, and by explicitly rejecting provisions that would expand liability and allow providers sole discretion to determine health coverage. "Job one" on the federal domestic agenda should be providing health coverage to more Americans - not increasing costs through so-called "patient protections."



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