"Health Care Quality And Access Act Of 1999" Would Raise Costs, Increase The Number Of Uninsured


June 9, 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):

We commend Representatives William Goodling (R-PA), John Boehner (R-OH), and other Congressional Republicans for their concern about health care costs in their crafting of the "Health Care Quality and Access Act of 1999." We also want to recognize that the bill does not contain a provision that would expand liability against health plans or employers. Nevertheless, HIAA must oppose this bill, as we oppose other legislation that would raise consumers’ costs and increase the number of Americans without health insurance.

In addition to so-called "Patient Protections" that result in more uninsured Americans, the legislation would promote Association Health Plans (AHPs), otherwise known as Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements, or "MEWAs." AHPs/MEWAs would raise coverage costs for people with state-regulated small group insurance, and eventually lead to the destruction of the small group marketplace. Additionally, since fraud and abuse have been related to certain MEWA plans in the past, we are concerned that additional AHP/MEWA coverage would increase the likelihood of some employers and consumers suffering again from a handful of underhanded MEWA plan administrators.

HIAA believes that "job one" should be providing coverage to the more than 43 million Americans who currently lack it. We encourage Congress to work with us to approve provisions of our InsureUSA initiative, instead of considering legislation that would raise costs, and correspondingly, raise the number of uninsured Americans.



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