NU Online News Service, April 23, 2003, 4:12 p.m. EDT – The American Association of Health Plans, Washington, has put out a statement urging presidential candidates to analyze the cost of any health finance reforms they propose.

Candidates should discuss whether their proposals would increase the cost and complexity of the health care system, and whether the proposals would reduce the flexibility now available to families that have private health coverage, the AAHP says.

Candidates should also discuss whether their proposals address issues such as waste, fraud, abuse, state-mandated benefits and malpractice lawsuits, according to the AAHP.

“Spending more money will undeniably give more Americans access to health care in the short term,” AAHP President Karen Ignagni says in the statement. “But until candidates also commit to address and mitigate destructive drivers of health care costs such as frivolous litigation, costly and unnecessary mandates, and fraud and abuse, we will not be able to make the system affordable or guarantee the quality and effectiveness of the American health care system.”