Sadly, Rep. Norwood Still Doesn’t Get It


CONTACT: Richard Coorsh

October 6, 2000

(202) 824-1787


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

Sadly, Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) still doesn’t get it.

Rep. Norwood’s latest final so-called "patients’ rights" proposal – announced today – still would divert dollars for consumers’ care into the coffers of the nation’s trial attorneys. It still would force consumers to spend more money for health coverage by imposing additional federal regulation upon their health plans.

Rep. Norwood’s proposal still would undermine the institution most responsible for reducing the number of uninsured Americans – the employment-based health insurance system. As noted in last week’s report from the U.S. Census Bureau, "[e]mployment-based insurance, the leading source of health insurance coverage, drove the increase in insurance coverage rates."

Rep. Norwood still can’t get around the fact that his so-called "patients’ rights" proposal would subject employers and health plans to unlimited damages in both federal and state courts. And, Rep. Norwood still cannot ignore that his attempts to limit the impact of multi-million dollar damages awards – most of which would go to lawyers, not consumers – are a chimera.

Exposing employers to the prospect of costly, crushing litigation undoubtedly would compel many of them to stop offering health coverage to their employees and dependents – thereby raising the number of uninsured Americans. The most important "patients’ right" is the right to be protected by affordable health coverage. Sadly, Rep. Norwood still doesn’t get it.



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