Issue: Health Care
ASBA Endorses Patient's Bill of Rights
Bipartisan McCain-Kennedy Bill Called 'Needed Remedy'
for America's Small Businesses
WASHINGTON - The American Small Business Alliance (ASBA)
is encouraging Congress to pass the Patient's Bill of Rights.
"This legislation is good for - and wanted by - America's
small businesses," said ASBA Founder Joel Marks. Congress
needs to stand up to the bullying tactics and misleading campaign
waged by the insurance industry and old-line business lobbies
and pass this important measure."
The ASBA has stood out as the only small business organization
in support of these sensible and popular reforms. The ASBA
believes the Patient's Bill of Rights will benefit small businesses
by making it easier for them to compare plans, by reducing
the risk and complexity of buying insurance, by leveling the
playing field with big business, and by giving employees a
system that better responds to their needs and makes them
healthier and more productive workers. The ASBA also strongly
supported the bill's liability provision.
"I'm accountable to my clients, my vendors and my employees,"
said ASBA member Charles Lauster, president of Christidis
Lauster Radu Architects in New York. "It seems only fair
that health plans - those often making the life and death
decisions - should be accountable, too."
Marks pointed out that a national poll conducted by the ASBA
Education Fund, in conjunction with the Kaiser-Harvard Program
on Health Policy, showed small business executives overwhelmingly
favored each of the bill's main provisions, even when told
it might increase the cost of insurance. Fewer than 1 percent
of employers said they'd consider dropping coverage if these
measures led to a rate increase. More than three-quarters
rejected the idea that this is unnecessary government involvement
care, instead favoring each provision as a way to make sure
people get the care they need. Even the bill's most controversial
measure, allowing lawsuits against health plans, enjoyed 61
percent support among small business.
All along, small businesses like mine have seen the value
in this legislation," said ASBA Member Alex Mann, president
of Mann Consulting Multimedia in San Francisco. "With
these new protections and improved quality of care - things
small businesses certainly couldn't negotiate on their own
- we're getting more bang for our health care dollars."
Marks added: "If Congress passes a strong, enforceable
Patient's Bill of Rights, the pressure will be on President
Bush to sign the bipartisan measure into law. Will he stand
up for businesses and average Americans, or will he take the
side of the special interests?"