Rep. Peter J. Visclosky
1st Congressional District of Indiana

Statement on the Importance of a Patients' Bill of Rights
October 11, 2000

Congress should pass a Patients' Bill of Rights. Legislation must be enacted to protect patients from powerful health insurance companies and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).

As a strong supporter of managed care reform, I have both cosponsored and voted in support of H.R. 2723, a bipartisan compromise that provides a strong Patients' Bill of Rights for those participating in HMOs by ensuring that medical decisions are made by you and your doctor, not by insurance company bureaucrats.

The Bipartisan legislation that I support includes the right to emergency care with no additional costs, the right to continuity of care if you are in the middle of a treatment regimen, the right to full medical information from your doctor, the right to privacy of medical records, and the right to see a specialist when needed.

Not all HMOs abuse their patients, but there are far too many horror stories from real patients to think that all HMOs act in a responsible and reasonable manner. I remain firmly committed to protecting patients' rights and I will continue to support all legislation that ensures the health and wellbeing of the residents of the region.

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