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Associated Industries of Florida Supports the House Republican Health Care Plan

April 7, 2000

TALLAHASSEE -- Associated Industries of Florida applauds the Republican leaders in the Florida House of Representatives, who under the leadership of Speaker John Thrasher and Speaker-Designate Tom Feeney, has heeded the healthcare needs of both Florida employers and employees.

In a newly released healthcare reform package, the Republican members of the Florida House advocate the "Patient Protection Act of 2000" which seeks to guarantee consumer awareness of patient protections; insure the quality of Floridians' health care and increase the affordability and availability of health care.

Of particular interest and importance to the business community of Florida is the proposal's encouragement of small employer health insurance reforms.

Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) has long recognized the fact that the costs of health insurance and the attacks on a viable system for providing care are probably the most important issues facing Florida employers this year and in the years to come.

Employers provide more than 90 percent of the private health insurance enjoyed by Americans today. The premium costs for those employment-based policies have now begun increasing, sometimes by double digits. Premium inflation hits the employees of smaller businesses hardest, making this a uniquely pressing problem for Florida where almost 90 percent of our companies employ fewer than 20 employees.

"In the long run everyone will benefit from "The Patient Protection Act of 2000." The employer will not have to face cost increases as a result of government intervention and employees will be guaranteed high quality health care through employer sponsored health programs," said Jon Shebel, president and chief executive officer of Associated Industries of Florida. "This plan and the proposals that it outlines will allow employers across the state to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to their employees and will let health insurance once again become a benefit."