New Norwood Bill Draws Business Fire

Business groups were quick to criticize the first health-care bill introduced in the new 106th Congress, the Access to Quality Care Act, sponsored by Rep. Charles Norwood (R, Ga.) and modeled after his Patient Access to Responsible Coverage Act (PARCA) that was defeated by business lobbyists last year. "This 'new' bill is loaded with the same morass of mandates, regulations, and legal landmines as last year's version," comments Neil Trautwein, health-care lobbyist at the National Assn. of Manufacturers. "It's certainly not the bill we had hoped would help set the tone for the health-care debate in this Congress." Says Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "Any way you package it, this bill is a bad prescription for health-care reform. It does nothing to address the three fundamental issues for improvement: access, affordability, and quality." Adds James A. Klein, president of the Assn. of Private Pension & Welfare Plans: "It's a major disappointment that Mr. Norwood has once again decided that the only way to 'protect' consumers is to call for unlimited liability for those who either sponsor or administer health benefits."

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