Action Alert on Patients' Rights (fwd) 
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 Action Alert on Patients' Rights (fwd)

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Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 17:50:12 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: From_Families_USA: Action Alert on Patients' Rights

Friends: This is an Action Alert about a breakthrough we've had on
patients' rights legislation in the House of Representatives. We have a
real chance of passing meaningful patients' protections in the House next
month and to defeat the industry's efforts to stop all legislation. Please
take action!

Urge Him/Her to Support the New Strong, Bipartisan Patient Protection Bill.

The House Republican leadership, which has so far resisted action on managed
care patient protection legislation, has agreed to a floor vote in September.
But they haven't said *which* bill will be brought to the floor. Your help
is needed to make sure the House votes ON (and votes FOR) a strong patient
protection bill!

BACKGROUND: The battle for patients' rights took an exciting turn the first
week in August when Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the lead Democratic sponsor of
the real Patients' Bill of Rights, and Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), a
longtime advocate of real reform on the Republican side, unveiled a
compromise, bipartisan bill, the "Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care
Improvement Act" (H.R. 2723). The bill immediately drew support from 21
Republicans -- many of whom rarely defy their leadership -- and 44 Democrats.

The Norwood-Dingell bill includes most of the same protections as in the
Patients' Bill of Rights Act (although a few provisions have been scaled
back somewhat). For example, there is a liability provision that allows
patients to sue their health plans, but they may not recover punitive damages
if the plan followed the external review process (which is good). There is one
significant omission: H.R. 2723 does not include a consumer assistance
(ombudsman) program.

*(For a comparison of the major managed care bills, including this new
compromise, go to http://www.***.com/ +u/compare2.htm .)*

If the Norwood-Dingell bill comes up for a vote, it will probably carry the
House, where Republicans have only a 5-vote edge.

This surprising development has left the House Republican leadership -- which
is adamantly opposed to strong protections, especially the right to sue health
plans -- scrambling. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) has announced that
there will be a vote on patient protection legislation in September, after the
August recess. But he has not said which bill will go to the floor. Will he
permit the House to vote on the Norwood-Dingell bill? Or only on some other
bill that includes so-called "poison pills" such as Medical Savings Accounts?
If he did this, it would be a cynical attempt to provide cover to Republicans,
who are clearly feeling the heat of public desire for action. The President
has repeatedly said he would veto any bill that included these poison pill
provisions. We must not let them weasel out of this issue. We must demand a
vote on a strong, but reasonable, bill that the President would sign: the
Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care Improvement Act.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: You should be in touch with your Representative over the
recess. Call, write, have a meeting over the recess. (Go here for contact
info: http://www.***.com/ ) Ask your Representative to co-sponsor
HR 2723. If already a co-sponsor, say thanks! If your Representative is not
already a co-sponsor, ask him or her: (1) to co-sponsor the Norwood-Dingell
patient protection bill; (2) to demand a vote on that bill on the House floor;
and (3) to vote FOR the Norwood-Dingell bill.

You can also help spread the word to others. Ask your coworkers, your
members, and your neighbors to call. Why not write a Letter to the Editor?
This is a good way to publicize the issue and reach more people.

Thanks for your help!

August 12, 1999

Jeff Kirsch, Field Director
Families USA
1334 G St., NW
Washington, DC  20005
Ph: 202/628-3030
Fx: 202/347-2417


Tue, 29 Jan 2002 03:00:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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