SURVEY SAYS: Bill Details

June 14, 2001 - Well, the details of a Patients' Bill of Rights may still remain to be worked out, but there isn't much doubt about the result, according to survey respondents. Nearly 60% (58%) expect employers to raise premiums -- as a result of insurance companies raising costs -- as a result of -- well, you get the point. Roughly a third (31%) expect coverage to be reduced in amount or scope as a result, while about 11% expect employers to do nothing, or be able to do nothing in the current labor environment..

There was also little doubt in respondent minds as to the ultimate beneficiary ? nearly half (48.9%) named lawyers. A distant second, with 27%, were politicians, while insurance companies were deemed the most likely beneficiary by 12%. Doctors were cited by 7%, employers by 2% – and just 4% said patients would be the most likely beneficiaries.

Verbatims from the Survey Comments:

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In the short term, health care providers and trial attorneys benefit; in the long term, everyone loses except the federal government, which will take over when health care costs skyrocket “out of control.”

“Any form of Patients Bill of Rights will have a “patient price tag”…large and mid-sized employers will likely pass along the increased cost of the bill to employees; small employers may be forced to cut back/eliminate coverage due to the increased cost or the perception/potential of liability from legal actions against them. Once again, the only beneficiary of this “mandate legislation” will be the lawyers!”

“One way or the other any costs have to be passed on to the employees. After all even employer paid expenses are picked up by employees in the way of a lower salary as the total cost of hiring for a position must be considered or the employer is out of business. For some reason many politicians as well as the general public seem to think just having the word Inc. attached to your company name means there is an unlimited supply of cash somewhere.”

“It is becoming too difficult for the average employer to keep up with the demands of the more recent legislation like HIPAA, and the significantly increased potential for litigation from employees and patients will prove to be too much pressure. Businesses provide health care to employees as a benefit and for recruiting/retention – it is not their sole reason for being in the business world. “

And this week’s favorite: ” I’m only 30. I’m too young to be so cynical.”

Thanks to EVERYONE who participated in our survey!