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NEWS RELEASE
Nov 06, 2003


CONTACT: Jerry Flanagan, (415) 633-1320 or Jamie Court, (310) 392-0522 ext. 327

Consumer Group Announces Contest for Health Care Cost-Savings Strategies

San Francisco. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) announced a contest today designed to generate new ideas for removing waste and profiteering from the health care system while not cutting back on programs or access to care. FTCR said that it will present the top 100 ideas to Governor-elect Schwarzenegger and the California legislature and bring the person whose idea has the greatest cost savings potential to Sacramento to meet with policymakers.

Contest entries should be sent via email to contest@consumerwatchdog.org with the words "Contest Entry" in the subject line and should include the name, telephone number and city of residence of the contestant. To qualify, each entry should be described in 5 sentences or less and must provide cost saving strategies that do not cut back on health care programs or limit access to care. Contest entries will be posted at www.CalHealthConsensus.org as they are received and processed. Contest entries can also be mailed to: FTCR, 410 Jessie St., 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. The deadline for entries is December 19, 2003.

"At a time when public and private health care programs are on the chopping block, it is critical that policy makers think creatively about ways to make our health care system as efficient and affordable as possible. We're recruiting all Californians to help them out," said Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). "Instead of government regulators cutting public programs or employers raising out-of-pocket costs for workers, we should all be focused on eliminating profiteering, waste, and bloated administrative costs that divert our health care dollars away from patient care. The private health care market is grotesquely inefficient due to profiteering, lack of competition, collusion, and inadequate government oversight. We cannot rely on market forces to keep health care affordable."

Citing high costs, opponents of a new law, SB 2, that requires employers to provide health care benefits, have filed a referendum with the state Attorney General's office designed to block the law.

"The Chamber of Commerce must accept that Californian's want and need health care coverage. Instead of fighting to invalidate California's landmark law, the Chamber should join with consumers to make our health care system as efficient and affordable as possible," said Flanagan. "The fact is that the implementation of the law has been delayed until 2006, providing the legislature and Governor-elect Schwarzenegger ample time to require insurers, hospitals and physicians to abide by appropriate cost controls."

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is a non-profit and non-partisan consumer advocacy group. For more information, visit us on the web at www.consumerwatchdog.org or www.CalHealthConsensus.org





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