Passing a Patients' Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(WASHINGTON, DC) - In a late morning press conference, Congressman Dennis Moore (Third District-KS) stood with family doctors from the Leawood-based American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) to urge action on the Patients’ Bill of Rights. Versions of the bill have passed the House and Senate, but the measure is currently stuck in conference committee.
"Every conferee and every Member of Congress should listen to these physicians who actually deliver care to millions of American families," said Moore. "These physicians want to be able to do the right thing for their patients, and this Congress must make sure the law allows them to do so. Now is the time to shift the balance of power back to patients and doctors, and away from unaccountable insurance company bureaucracies."
The family physicians delivered their message, along with a stethoscope and calculator, to every member of the House and Senate conference committee. The committee has been charged with crafting a compromise bill based on the different versions already passed in both chambers.
Dr. Bruce Bagley, president of the AAFP, stated "These stethoscopes and calculators symbolize a choice: Who do you want caring for you-an accountant or a physician? Do we put patients and physicians back in charge of their health care, or do we allow big managed-care companies to continue to dictate medical decisions?"
"As the physicians who care for patients in over 200 million office visits each year, we owe it to our patients to make sure they get access to the health care they need," said Bagley, a practicing family physician in Latham, N.Y. "After all the committee meetings, all the discussions, all the studies, all the stories, it is time for Congress to choose to do the right thing and pass good patient protections."
After sharing an experience his wife Stephene had with an insurance company, Moore gave examples of Kansans who had come to the congressional office seeking assistance. "One mother had a daughter who was refused a cancer treatment because it was ‘experimental,’ even though it had a better success rate than other approved procedures," said Moore. "Another man had a pregnant daughter lose benefits because his employer changed plans on him without notification. I’ve even heard from a doctor who was offered a bonus by an insurer if he wouldn’t refer patients to the hospital."
Copyright © 1999 Congressman Dennis