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National Coalition on Health Care Releases “Cost of Inaction” Report

Top Business Leaders Challenge Elected Officials to Solve Health Care Crisis

(Washington, DC) May 19, 2003 — As many as 53.7 million Americans will be without health insurance by 2006 unless there is major, comprehensive reform of the nation’s health care system, according to a report by the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC). “Charting the Cost of Inaction,” released today during a briefing in Washington, also projects that if present trends continue, the average annual premium for employer-sponsored family health coverage by 2006 will be $14,545.

At today’s briefing, top business leaders and representatives of major labor and consumer organizations, and the country’s second largest public pension fund pointed out the magnitude of the problems of cost, coverage, and quality in our health care system and the effects on their business, their employees, and the people they represent. American businesses cannot continue to sustain the current rate of increase in the cost of health insurance. The costs are hurting their profitability, their viability, and their ability to continue to provide health insurance to their employees and families. That, in turn, hurts their employees, their shareholders, and our economy.

Speakers indicated that neither the actions taken to date nor proposals currently before Congress are adequate to address those problems, and called upon our elected officials to embark on a search for comprehensive solutions to what many consider the nation’s transcendent domestic issue.

Among the speakers at the briefing were:

  • Robert D. Ray, former Governor of Iowa and Co-Chair, NCHC
  • Henry E. Simmons, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., President, NCHC
    View speech (pdf)
  • William M. Daley, President, SBC Communications
    View speech (pdf)
  • Carlos M. Gutierrez, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, Kellogg Corporation
    View speech (pdf)
  • James E. Rogers, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, Cinergy
    View speech (pdf)
  • Dick Baird, President and CEO, Giant Foods, Inc.
    View speech (pdf)
  • Morton Bahr, President, Communications Workers of America
    View speech (pdf)
  • Sean Harrigan, President of the Board of Administration, CalPERS
    View speech (pdf)
  • James G. Parkel, President, AARP.
    View speech (pdf)

“Our health care system is in crisis, and the large number of businesses and other organizations that have joined our Coalition over the past year is a dramatic indication of the strong, broad, and growing support for comprehensive health care reform within all segments of our society,” said Henry E. Simmons, M.D., president of the Coalition. “Our nearly 100 member organizations employ or represent 150 million people, and they recognize that the cost of inaction — of not making the systematic changes that are necessary — over time will be far greater than the cost of action. The report we are releasing today explains why that is so and estimates the savings that are possible from comprehensive reform,” he added.

Former Presidents Carter and Ford, in a letter released at the briefing, noted that this is a time that calls for real, long-term solutions and comprehensive reform of the health care system, commended the members of the Coalition for their efforts toward that end, and encouraged others to join the Coalition.

The National Coalition on Health Care is the nation’s largest and most broadly based alliance working to improve America’s health care. Its Honorary Co-Chairs are former Presidents Bush, Carter, and Ford, and its Co-Chairs are Robert D. Ray, former Governor of Iowa and Paul G. Rogers, former Congressman from Florida. Members of the non-profit and non-partisan Coalition include business, labor, purchasers, providers, consumers, and religious organizations, as well as some of the country’s largest pension funds. They are united in the goal of providing health insurance for all, while controlling the cost of health care and assuring the quality of that care. Additional information on the Coalition and a copy of “Charting the Cost of Inaction” can be found at or by calling 202-638-7151.

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