For Immediate Release    Contact:  Aaron Taylor
November 3, 1998 (202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today released its latest investigative report, an eye-opening critique of a disjointed healthcare system that allows employers and insurance companies to make crucial medical decisions for patients.  The report, entitled Patient-Centered Healthcare:  The Road to Wellville, is a road map for putting patients back in charge of their medical care.

“All of the healthcare proposals before Congress this session would have simply created more bureaucratic layers, more mandates, more mindless regulations, and more inefficiencies and waste,” said CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “If you want to know how to fix what ails the healthcare system, follow the money.  Take it away from the employers and the insurance companies and get it back into the hands of patients.”

According to the report, as long as healthcare choices and healthcare dollars reside with employers and insurance companies, costs will continue to escalate and patient care will suffer.  “Fixing the healthcare system means refocusing on quality care at affordable costs.  Americans are savvy consumers, but when it comes to their health, they are out of the loop.  Employers, government, and big health insurers are making all the decisions,” said Schatz.

Among other recommendations, CAGW’s report calls for Congress to extend to individuals the same tax break enjoyed by employers, so they can purchase individual healthcare coverage with before-tax dollars.  This change would spur competition, create incentives to shop around for quality healthcare, put the decision-making power back in the hands of the patients, and forever alter the incentives in the industry.

“Medical decisions ought to rest with the patient and his or her doctor.  It is government meddling and intrusion into the healthcare markets that have brought the country to this state in the first place.  The government’s proper role should be one of disseminating information, not making bedside decisions about specific treatment protocols,” concluded Schatz.  “Congress almost made the situation worse with their election-year pandering on patients’ rights.  Next year, taxpayers will be better served by a decidedly different tack in tackling healthcare problems.”

CAGW is a 600,000-member nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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