The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2990, legislation
explicitly designed to interfere with the passage of a free-standing
Norwood-Dingell Patients' Bill of Rights. This legislation is completely
unfunded and would therefore spend the social security surplus. The
spending of the surplus would have virtually no impact in expanding
coverage to the uninsured. If H.R. 2990 were presented to the President,
his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.
Although we look forward to continuing to work with the Congress on a
bipartisan basis to increase access to health insurance coverage, H.R. 2990
is not the answer. While H.R. 2990 contains certain provisions that the
Administration supports, such as a 100 percent deduction for health
insurance premiums for the self-employed, it also includes numerous
controversial provisions, such as expanding the availability of Medical
Savings Accounts and association health plans, that independent health
policy analysts fear would do more to segregate the healthy from the
unhealthy than to cover the uninsured. In fact, preliminary analysis
indicates that the bill's costs would lead to a coverage expansion of less
than one percent of the currently uninsured. These provisions are
unrelated to the purposes of the Patients' Bill of Rights, and would
further undermine the chances for a bipartisan agreement on meaningful
legislation to provide all Americans the health care protections they need
In addition, the Administration is seriously concerned that H.R. 2990 fails
to include adequate offsets for the bill's significant pay-as-you-go costs.
Failure to provide adequate offsets for these costs is likely to force
spending of surplus dollars that should go to Social Security and Medicare.
H.R. 2990 would affect receipts; therefore, it is subject to the
pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.
OMB's scoring of H.R. 2990 is under development. Preliminary estimates
based on scoring of similar provisions indicate that H.R. 2990 would result
in paygo costs of more than $50 billion over 10 years.