|Washington, DC — The House passed a comprehensive managed care
reform bill, HR 2723, on October 7, by an overwhelming bipartisan
majority. We have waited on the results of the conference with
the Senate since that time.
What does the HMO lobby hope to accomplish by delay? I believe they feel that the entire issue will fade from the media’s attention and the public’s mind, so that they can quietly kill the bill, while their supporters in the House and Senate slither through the fall election unscathed.
If that is the strategy, then the stacks of letters we have here today should serve as a wake-up call to this Congress. I would like to read from just one:
This from a 36-year old mother of three in New Jersey, who is also
Every one of these letters say to include the Norwood-Dingell provisions on liability, scope, and external appeals, and that the Senate bill is inadequate.
Those 24,000 letters are just the tip of the iceberg. The latest public opinion poll that we are releasing here today makes clear that the American voter won’t stand for a conference failure.
None other than the chief Republican pollster in the country, Frank
Luntz, now reports the following:
I’m here today to say time’s up on the conference committee. We’ve waited eight months for this committee to approve a compromise bill. Senate Republicans have yet to even offer a compromise liability proposal – they have only demanded that the House Conferees abandon their position.
Maybe they are making an offer right now as we speak. I know House Republicans have been working on offers that could kick start this process. But make no mistake about it, the time is now.
Today I call on the 275 members of the House who voted yes on HR2723, and the 400 members who voted yes on liability to prepare for additional floor action.
If we don’t get a bill, or at least a tentative agreement in writing by the week we come back from Memorial Day, we must move past the conference.
Starting today, I am working as if that will be the case. I am
willing to pass this measure through any means necessary.
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