Ganske Grab-Bag Promises Higher Costs, More Uninsured

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 11, 1999

CONTACT: Richard Coorsh

(202) 824-1787

email: rcoorsh@hiaa.org

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

There are serious problems that exist in the way our nation finances health care, none more serious than the need to provide affordable coverage to the 43.5 million Americans who lack it. Unfortunately, many of our elected officials would rather regulate the health insurance industry, and in the process, raise consumers' costs and increase the number of uninsured.

A bill announced today by Rep. Greg Ganske (R-IA) would do just that. Dr. Ganske's bill is a grab-bag assortment of expensive mandates, guaranteed to raise health insurance premiums and to divert money away from consumer care into the coffers of providers and trial attorneys.

Under Dr. Ganske's bill, government bureaucrats, not consumers, would determine the appropriate number of doctors and specialists in a health plan. Government bureaucrats would enforce prohibitions against so-called gag clauses in health plans, even though the government's General Accounting Office already has found that no such clauses exist. And, under Dr. Ganske's bill, health plan premium payers still would be exposed to the vicissitudes of rate hikes brought about by expensive lawsuits against health plans.

None of these regulations - nor others in Dr. Ganske's bill - would provide coverage to the millions of Americans who need it; all of the regulations, collectively, would raise the number of uninsured Americans. Dr. Ganske and Members of Congress would best serve the American public by heeding President Clinton's health care quality commission, which pointedly refused to back so-called patient protection legislation. Health plans responding to the marketplace - not bureaucrats and trial attorneys - are best able to provide the services and safeguards that consumers want.

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