Stark Supports Efforts to Break the Logjam

Managed care reform efforts gained new momentum in the House of Representatives with the recent introduction of the Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care Improvement Act (HR 2723). This bill is the product of intense negotiations among a bipartisan group of us in Congress who are committed to passing true federal HMO reform that holds health plans accountable for their medical decision making.

What is different about this legislation is that it is the first time that a significant number of Republicans have been willing to sign their names to a managed care bill that promises real reform. Until now, the two parties were seriously divided about whether health plans should be held liable in court for the medical decisions they make.

Now, with more than twenty Republicans joining us, there is a real opportunity for the House of Representatives to pass a strong managed care reform bill. In fact, the House leadership has announced that the issue should reach the House floor this month.

But, to make this bill into law will be a difficult task. The managed care industry will spend millions in their efforts to defeat us. And, the Senate has passed an extremely watered-down version of managed care reform that is a joke.

This will be a major issue for Congress in the coming months. I assure you that I will be fighting to see that Congress doesn't get away with passing a weakened version of HMO reform. We need to hold health plans accountable when they injure or kill people by denying care. I will oppose any efforts to pass a weakened version of our bipartisan legislation that would let health plans off the hook.

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