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PENNSYLVANIA SMALL BUSINESSES FIND PROMISE, PROBLEMS WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM PROPOSALS

 HARRISBURG, Pa., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania's largest small-business advocacy group this afternoon offered health care cost containment proposals to Governor Casey and the Economic Development Partnership, while strongly opposing mandates that would force employers to provide health insurance plans.
 "Many of our proposals coincide with those of the partnership," said Tim Lyden, state director of the 25,000-member National Federation of Independent Business/Pennsylvania. "However, a survey of NFIB members in Pennsylvania indicates that severe job losses would occur if businesses were compelled to pay for expensive health coverage they cannot afford."
 Lyden pointed out that small-business owners have a strong desire to sponsor health insurance for their employees, but that cost was the overriding concern for the 20 percent of small businesses that do not have insurance.
 "A nationwide NFIB survey in 1990 found that 64 percent felt that a health insurance plan was important to attracting first-rate employees. Eighty-five percent of small-business owners with health plans rely on it as the basis for covering themselves and their families," Lyden said.
 In November, 1992, NFIB/Pennsylvania analyzed survey responses from 300 members who do not sponsor employee health plans and found that 56 percent would lay off employees if they were required by law to pay annual insurance premiums of $2000 per employee. Ninety-three percent of the group indicated that they would lay off between one and 10 employees.
 "If small-business layoffs averaged five persons per firm, a total of 21,000 jobs could be lost among NFIB/Pennsylvania member businesses alone," Lyden said, "the effect would be much greater for the state as a whole."
 Lyden told the partnership that NFIB sees numerous opportunities for cost savings in the areas of general cost containment and insurance market reform.
 "In the debate over health care reform we have tended to lose focus on the root cause of our problems," Lyden said. "That root cause is cost, and if we are successful in lowering cost, more people will have access to quality, affordable health care."
 -0- 3/25/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Following are highlights of NFIB/Pennsylvania's Health Care Reform Proposal.


NFIB/PENNSYLVANIA HEALTH CARE REFORM PROPOSALS GENERAL COST CONTAINMENT
 -- Give patients a larger stake in their health care, possibly by increasing insurance deductibles and copayments, thus increasing consumer interest in cost and quality.
 -- Strengthen and fully fund the state's Health Care Cost Containment Council, and make its cost and quality data widely available to payers and consumers.
 -- Promote managed health care arrangements.
 -- Halt cost-shifting among health care providers.
 -- Continue the "certificate-of-need" review process so that health care providers do not invest in excessive and unnecessary facilities and equipment.
 -- Minimize "defensive medicine" through comprehensive medical liability reforms.
 -- Develop a uniform insurance claim system and more efficient electronic processing.
 INSURANCE MARKET REFORM
 -- Establish a voluntary, low-cost basic-coverage plan.
 -- Guarantee access to health insurance for all persons, including limits on exclusions for pre-existing health conditions.
 -- Guarantee portability of coverage from job to job.
 -- Establish a rating band that helps minimize premium increases.
 -- Broaden the state law allowing multi-employer insurance trusts to permit companies from different industries.
 -- If businesses are required to provide employee health insurance, owners must retain the right to require employees to pay the premium cost.
 -0- 3/25/93
 /CONTACT: Tim Lyden of NFIB/Pennsylvania, 717-232-8582/


CO: National Federation of Independent Business ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:

SM -- NY059 -- 9636 03/25/93 13:39 EST
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Date:Mar 25, 1993
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