Health Care Protections to 161 Million Americans;

Press Release
July 14, 1999

Daschle: Republicans Reject Democrat Plan to Provide
Health Care Protections to 161 Million Americans;

Says Republicans Vote to Leave Out 113 Million

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Daschle said Senate Republicans today rejected a Democratic amendment to ensure that all 161 million privately-insured Americans are covered by a "Patients' Bill of Rights."

Daschle said Democrats offered the measure during debate over his "Patients' Bill of Rights" because millions of Americans can now be denied needed medical services by health plans trying to save money.

"This whole debate is about deciding who should make medical decisions patients and their doctors, or insurance company accountants," Daschle said. "By rejecting Democrats attempts to ensure that all eligible families have protections, more than 110 million Americans will be left without the assurance they can go to the nearest emergency room, or see needed medical specialists, among other rights. That ignores a critical health care problem and is simply is not good enough."

Daschle said the Democratic amendment would have ensured that all 161 million privately-insured Americans get needed patient protections. The Republicans plan would apply only to the 48 million people covered under self-funded employer health plans, he said.

On Tuesday, Republicans also rejected Democratic proposals to ensure that families in South Dakota and across the country have access to emergency room care and that women have greater health care protections, including the right to designate obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYN) as their primary care doctors.

"Republicans provide too few rights to too few people," Daschle said. "We want to make sure that every eligible American has all the basic health care protections they need. That's what this fight is all about."

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