NCHC Writer
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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, August 21, 1996

Peggy Rhoades
(202) 637-6830Coalition Calls New Bill an Important First Step — But Only a First Step

Washington, D.C.The National Leadership Coalition on Health Care today commends the Congress and the President for passing and signing the Kassebaum-Kennedy bill, bipartisan legislation which will improve the portability of health insurance from one job to another for those who already have insurance.

But, according to Coalition president, Dr. Henry Simmons, “This is a first step — but only a first step. There are tens of millions of people who need help who won’t get it under this bill. It is clear much more needs to be done.”

The Coalition remains deeply concerned about high costs, serious quality problems, and growing numbers of uninsured and underinsured. None of these serious problems will be adequately addressed without further major initiatives which the Coalition is committed to work for.

Recent survey data indicates that 41 million Americans are without any health insurance on an average day. Tens of millions more are underinsured, with inadequate coverage for themselves and their families. About one million people are being added each year to the ranks of the uninsured, a rate of increase seen previously only during a recession.

For this reason, according to Coalition co-chairman Robert Ray, “This is an issue that won’t go away.” Coalition co-chairman Paul Rogers said: “Lack of insurance and underinsurance is a growing problem for the middle class.” Governor Ray is the former Republican Governor of Iowa and Congressman Rogers is the former Democratic Congressman from Florida.

The National Leadership Coalition is the nation’s largest alliance of organizations supporting changes in the health care system which will ultimately achieve universal coverage, cost containment and improved quality of care. Its members include approximately 90 businesses, consumer organizations, religious groups, labor unions, and health care provider organizations. The Coalition’s honorary co-chairs are former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald R. Ford.

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