Revised CBO Estimate Shows Patients’ "Bills Of Rights" Are "Bills Of Goods"


CONTACT: Carrie B. Tydings

February 11, 2000

(202) 824-1786


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

The just-released Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate of how high premiums would rise under "patient protection" legislation shows, once again, that so-called patients’ bills of rights remain bills of goods that would further fuel the rapidly-rising number of uninsured Americans.

According to the new CBO estimates, the House-passed Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care Improvement Act—which, unlike the Senate bill, would expand health plan liability—would increase premiums for employer-sponsored plans by an average of 4.1 percent, and the Senate’s Patients’ Bill of Rights Act (S. 1344) would force premiums up by 1.3 percent. Previously, CBO estimated that for every one-percent increase in premiums, at least 200,000 people lose or cannot afford health coverage.

We believe CBO’s newest figures grossly underestimate the costs of expanded health plan and employer liability, and do not address the number of employers who no longer would provide health insurance for their employers. Nevertheless, they mean that if "patient protections" are approved, an additional 820,000 Americans could be added to the rolls of the uninsured – on top of the nearly one million Americans who already are expected to lose coverage every year.

We believe that "job one"—our nation’s most important domestic priority—should be to increase the number of Americans with health coverage. On the other hand, so-called "patient protections" would increase the number of Americans without health insurance, according to the CBO.



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