Capitol Hill Watch Alert
of Representatives to Consider Two Versions of the Patient's Bill
July 27, 2001
- A vote on the Patients' Bill of Rights bills has been delayed
until after Labor Day according to House Republican leaders. However,
the White House negotiated a partial agreement late on July 26,
2001, with proponents of the Ganske-Dingell-Norwood bill that would
allow patients to sue their HMO's in state courts. If an agreement
is reached that satisfies the President's concerns, the legislation
could be taken to the floor as early as the week of July 30, 2001
according to Speaker of the House Hastert.
The House of Representatives
is considering two forms of Patients' Bill of Rights legislations
Bipartisan Patient Protection Act of 2001 (H.R. 526) and the
Patients' Bill of Rights Act of 2001 (H.R. 2315).
Protection Act of 2001 (H.R. 526) - The Ganske-Dingell-Norwood
patients' bill of rights measure unfortunately increases the risk
of costly liability. If it passes, many employers may no longer be
able to afford to offer coverage to employees because of the predicted
premium increases in anticipation of costly lawsuits. Tragically,
under either H.R. 526 or the Kennedy-McCain patients' bill of rights
legislation in the Senate, low-income employees, in particular, who
can barely afford health insurance will become uninsured. Conservatively,
the numbers of uninsured in the nation could rise from 43 million
to as many as 52 million because of the dramatic increase in the cost
of health care due to this legislation.
of Rights Act of 2001 (H.R. 2315) - A compromise bill, H.R. 2315,
is being offered by Representatives (Dr.) Ernie Fletcher (R-KY), Colin
Peterson (D-MN), Nancy Johnson (R-CT), and Richard Burr (R-NC) The
measures' sponsors have indicated that the legislation will ensure
needed patient protection while limiting liability lawsuits. Speaker
of the House Dennis Hastert has said, "Dr. Fletcher's bipartisan
bill is the only legislation in the Congress that stands a real chance
of passing and being signed into law by President Bush since the White
House already has announced its intention of vetoing the trial lawyer-backed
Kennedy-McCain bill moving through the Senate."
Although H.R. 2315 is not
as extreme as H.R. 526, government mandates on free-market health
maintenance organizations (HMO's) will not strengthen the nation's
health care system or improve the quality of patient care across the
What America needs is the
FREEDOM TO CHOOSE their own health insurance that allows them to select
a policy that best suits their health care needs, just as they do
when purchasing car, home or life insurance. To have quality, affordable
health care coverage, health plans and insurance companies would be
forced to respond to their customers because of free-market competition.
To strengthen the nation's
health care system, Americans must be empowered to make their own
decisions about the health plan they want and flexible coverage that
can be taken with them if they move, retire, start their own business
or change jobs. Neither bill fits this model for a health care system
that empowers patients.
For more information on
Patients' Bill of Rights, click
What Can You Do?
Contact your representative
and urge him/her NOT to support either the Patients' Bill of Rights
Act of 2001 (H.R. 2315) or the Bipartisan Patient Protection Act of
2001 (H.R. 526).
Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will
direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your representative's
To go to your
representative's website, find his E-mail or to find out who your
representatives are... http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html
mail your U.S. House of Representative, go to http://www.house.gov/htbin/wrep_findrep.
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
to the American Voice Institute of Public Policy Home Page