Efforts to Guarantee Patient Protections

Press Release
June 21, 1999

Daschle Disappointed That Republicans Once Again Have Blocked
Efforts to Guarantee Patient Protections

Says South Dakotans Have Waited Too Long for Congress to Take Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Daschle today said he was extremely disappointed that Republican leaders have once again blocked Democratic efforts to provide all Americans with needed patient protections, including the right to receive emergency health care treatment and to select their own doctor.

Daschle supported Senator Bryon Dorgan's (D-ND) attempt to add the "Patients Bill of Rights," to legislation currently on the Senate floor saying that the patient protections are too important to Americans to be held up any longer. Republican leaders, however, used parliamentary tactics to once again prevent the Senate from considering the bill.

"Last week, we told Republicans leaders that if they did not bring up the 'Patients' Bill of Rights' before Friday we would add it as an amendment to other legislation. Today, we are making good on our word," Daschle said. "The American people have already waited too long for the Congress to take action to provide them with real, enforceable health care protections. I am extremely disappointed that by blocking this action today the Republicans are telling the American people that they should remain in the waiting room even longer."

Daschle said that the Democratic version of the patient protection bill would:

  • Guarantee patient access to needed medical specialists and emergency room services
  • Allow patients to appeal to an independent body a medical decision made by their HMO
  • Hold health plans accountable for medical decisions that harm patients
  • Protect all patients with private insurance
  • Allow women to select on Ob/Gyn as their primary care doctor
  • Guarantee access to clinical trials that could save a person's life
  • Ensure that patients can keep the same doctor throughout their treatment
  • Provide access to doctor-prescribed drugs
  • Allow patients access to out-of-network health care providers
  • Provide patients with information on the quality of their health care plan

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