Patients Bill of Rights Debate and Poll
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Cover all Americans who have private health insurance, an estimated 161 million people.
Many provisions only apply to 48 million Americans who are in plans that are regulated only by federal law. This includes greater access to emergency rooms, specialists and medications and the right to choose a health plan that allows them to use doctors who are outside a defined network.
Give patients who are harmed by the denial of care the right to sue their health insurance company.
Give no new rights to sue.
Allow women to see OB-GYN doctors without prior approval or to designate them as a primary care physicians.
Allow women to see OB-GYN doctors without prior approval. Only applies to federally regulated plans.
Require health plans to pay for reasonable care even if the hospital is outside the network. That includes care needed to stabilize the patient and to treat whatever is wrong.
Require payment only for stabilization. Only applies to federally regulated plans.
Require health plans to pay the routine health care costs associated with clinical trials.
Require a study of the issue.
Define medical necessity as care that is consistent with generally accepted principles of professional medical practice. Prohibits plans from interfering with a doctor's care if the services being performed are medically necessary.
Allow plans to continue determining what care is medically necessary.
Require that health plans pay for overnight hospital stays if doctor and patient want it.
Allow people who are self-employed to deduct the cost of health insurance. Allow more medical savings accounts, which let people set aside money, tax-free, to pay for routine care if they buy a high-deductible insurance policy in case of an emergency.
Require health plans to allow patients to appeal denials, first through an internal process and then to experts outside the plan. Details differ.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finds the Democratic reform efforts would increase costs by 4.8 percent.
All of the social programs the democrats have ever came up with, start out cheap, but as time goes by they all end costing way too much.
While the competing GOP proposal would see a smaller 0.8 percent rise.
Republicans 16 Aug 6, 99
Moving swiftly to try to stamp out a rebellion in their ranks over a patients' rights bill, House Republican leaders Friday threw their support behind a rival HMO bill and promised a vote on it this fall. At 1:45 a.m. Friday, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and fellow bleary-eyed House leaders signed off on an alternative bill sponsored by an even more conservative doctor from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn. Coburn and his co-author John Shadegg of Arizona said details of their bill are still being finalized. But from the initial summary descriptions, it will go further toward the center than a Republican bill that passed very narrowly in the House last year with virtually no Democratic support. Coburn and Shadegg said they will allow greater access to the courts for patients who have been denied medical care by a health plan. But patients will have to go through some type of certification process first to establish that they have been injured.
Both 17 8-24-99
The American Medical Association (AMA), the largest group representing doctors across the United States, threw its support Monday behind a compromise patients' bill of rights cooked up by Congress. The new bill, a compromise between rival legislation drawn up by Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives, is opposed by the insurance industry. But it has won praise from President Clinton, who said it provided ``meaningful patient protections to all Americans.'' The AMA agreed with Clinton and attacked the insurance industry's stand as ``irresponsible'' and greedy. ``This bill delivers the essential protections patients and voters are demanding,'' AMA president Dr. Thomas Reardon said in a statement. ``Doctors will be allowed to make medical decisions. Health plans will be held accountable for their actions. Patients can appeal if health care is delayed or denied. And the bill's protections apply to everyone with health insurance.'' The most contentious aspect of any new legislation covering health maintenance organizations (HMOs) is whether patients should have expanded rights to sue their health plan if health care is denied. The Norwood-Dingell bill gives people expanded rights to sue in state courts.
Republicans 18 9-23-99
Backed by some congressional leaders who want to blunt the momentum of a bipartisan health bill, a group of House Republicans Thursday outlined alternative legislation that did not contain the right to sue a health plan.
Republicans 19 10-5-99
One day before a closely watched vote on health care, House Speaker Dennis Hastert attended a fund-raising breakfast Tuesday with industry representatives who gave $1,000 apiece to his political war chest. Hastert, who opposes the bill, defended his previously scheduled meeting and sought to turn the tables on the White House. ``Mr. President, I hope you will say no to helping trial lawyers, and say yes to helping the 44 million Americans who want health-care coverage,'' the Illinois Republican said in a written statement.
If your spouse is refused treatment, because the HMO is looking at the bottom line, and then your spouse dies because of the HMO's refusal, shouldn't you be able to sue? What's going to force that HMO to improve.
FACT 21 10-7-99
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill providing a broad array of protections for patients and giving people an unprecedented right to sue health plans when care is denied. The bill passed 275-151. Sixty-eight Republicans joined all but two Democrats in supporting it. The bill passed despite strong opposition from House Republican leaders, who had tried and failed to rally support around two narrower bills. Assistant Senate Republican leader Don Nickles of Oklahoma immediately made clear he would not easily yield to the House version.