To Senate GOP "Patients' Bill Of Rights Act"
CONTACT: Richard Coorsh
The following statement was released today by Chip Kahn, President of
the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA).
An estimated 43.5 million people in the United States currently have no
health insurance. That number is expected to grow to at least 53 million
by the year 2007 unless Congress and the President act responsively and
responsibly. Unfortunately, taken as a whole, the so-called "patient
protection" legislation introduced last Friday by Senate Republicans
actually would harm consumers by increasing the cost of health insurance
and increasing the number of uninsured.
For example, the bill would deprive consumers of less expensive,
in-network coverage by mandating health plans and private businesses that
sponsor coverage to provide an independent, third-party process to review
complaints and grievances. Additionally, its overly broad definition of
genetic information would punish consumers who have been faithfully paying
their health insurance premiums in order to benefit people who wait until
they became ill before buying coverage. These federal price controls and
"guarantee issue" requirements are guaranteed only to raise consumers'
To its credit, the Senate Republican bill provides a 100 percent tax
deduction for self-employed individuals. HIAA and its member companies
believe that allowing self-employed individuals a 100 percent tax
deduction will make it much easier for people who currently do not have
coverage to be able to afford it. Also, the Senate Republican bill wisely
avoids expanding liability against health plans, which would lead directly
to massive fees for lawyers and massive premium increases for consumers.
Nevertheless, the Senate Republican bill would increase federal
regulation of the private health insurance industry, and increase
consumers' costs in the process. For this reason, we cannot support it.
Consumer Information | Insurance Education | Publications
Copyright © 1999 Health Insurance Association of America