|WASHINGTON, March 17, 1999 --
As the Senate Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions Committee prepares to mark up the
Patients' Bill of Rights today, the National
Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) called
on the committee to strike down any measures
that would increase the costs of health
"The high cost of health care is
the No. 1 problem for small business. If the
committee wants to increase the number of
Americans with health care coverage, it will
reject any proposals that would increase costs
for small business owners and their employees,"
said Dan Danner, NFIB's vice president of
federal public policy.
NFIB is opposed to
the Patients' Bill of Rights, introduced by U.S.
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., that would increase
the liability for health plans in benefits
claims disputes and expand the definition of
what is considered "medically necessary care."
"If these amendments pass, they would
have a devastating effect on employers and
employees, as well as the health care system as
a whole," said Danner.
"While few would
benefit from these amendments, the costs of the
requirements would be significant for many,"
said Danner. "Many small business owners
wouldn't be able to absorb the costs of
implementing the additional mandated coverage,
forcing them to stop offering health care
"The goal for
health care reform should be to increase the
number of insured, not decrease it," concluded