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The World's Most Evil Organization Bristles At Senate Health-Care Bill

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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-12-09 09:33 AM
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The World's Most Evil Organization Bristles At Senate Health-Care Bill

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Groups representing U.S. employers are meeting Friday to discuss their strategy for contending with Senate health-care legislation that has so far been met with marked dissatisfaction from the private sector.

The employer groups, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, have organized meetings Friday to discuss health-care legislation written by Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

According to a person with knowledge of the meetings, the groups will brief other business organizations on "what we have been advocating for and against, and where that process has taken us, based on the draft bill."

The groups meeting could play a major role in determining how difficult it will be for Democrats to pass that legislation.

Following the meetings, "a coalition may emerge to reinforce, to push back on some things or, to advance other issues in tandem," said the person.

In a statement Thursday in a hearing of the Senate Health panel, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was highly critical of the committee's bill.

"The Chamber is gravely concerned by the process and the product thus far," the statement said. "As badly as reform is needed, we cannot support reform just for the sake of reform."

The statement said congressional the effort to overhaul the U.S. health sector and extend insurance to those currently without coverage "has been less open and transparent" than Democrats' failed health-care efforts in 1993 and 1994.

Likewise, National Federation of Independent Business representative William J. Dennis criticized the draft bill for not addressing rising medical costs "to the extent necessary," and warned against a proposed mandate that employers provide health insurance for workers or face a penalty, which appears likely to end up in the legislation.

"It's important to remember what the consequences of this are, and that is that employees pay the costs of this in the long run," Dennis told the committee.

The draft bill doesn't include details on provisions for an employer mandate or a public health insurance option that would compete alongside private insurers. Both items have drawn concerns from business groups.

The U.S. Chamber's statement said a public option "would put the government in the position of being both a team owner and the referee; inevitably the government would move to give unfair advantages to the public option."
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