"Patient Protection" Bills Give Short Shrift To The Uninsured


April 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):

More than 43 million Americans currently lack health insurance. By the year 2007, the number of Americans without health insurance will grow to 53 million – one out of every five of the non-elderly. If economic conditions worsen, the number of uninsured Americans could grow as high as 60 million – one out of every four of the non-elderly.

Providing affordable health coverage to the millions of Americans who desperately need it should be "job one" for Congress and the Administration. Backers of so-called "patient protection" legislation instead are pushing bills that would raise the number of uninsured by raising the cost of health insurance.

The most important "patient protection" should be protection against costly government mandates that increase the cost of health insurance. Expensive liability and "medical necessity" mandates in the major so-called "patient protection" bills would benefit providers and trial attorneys, while giving short shrift to the uninsured and to businesses and individuals struggling to maintain affordable coverage.

Consumers throughout the country are reaping the benefits of deregulation through lower airfares, lower phone bills, and through an increasing array of innovative new products and services. On the other hand, so-called "patient protections" will raise consumers’ costs, raise the number of uninsured, and hamper health plans seeking to offer innovative new services. We urge Members of Congress and the Administration to seriously consider the needs of millions of Americans who need affordable coverage and access to basic health care, and not attempt to reap political capital at their expense.



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