MANAGED CARE REFORM DISCHARGE PETITION -- (House of Representatives - June 24, 1999)

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   (Mr. GREEN of Texas asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

   Mr. GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, yesterday we began signing a discharge petition to bring the HMO reform bill to the floor of the House, simply because of the refusal to bring up the Patients' Bill of Rights for debate on this floor. The American people have been very clear about their desire for meaningful HMO reform. It is estimated

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that 122 million Americans who have insurance do not have these same patient protections.

   In my home State of Texas, we passed health care legislation similar to the Patients' Bill of Rights, which has proven to be very successful. However, we still have 8 million insured people in Texas who fall under ERISA, which preempts Texas law, who do not have these basic patient protections.

   This is not about politics, it is about fairness, protection and accountability. The American people deserve a Patients' Bill of Rights that eliminates gag clauses, open access to specialists, external and timely appeals, coverage for emergency room care for families to go to the closest emergency room, and accountability for medical decisions.


[Time: 10:15]

   Mr. Speaker, the American people cannot afford any more delays. We need to support the Patients' Bill of Rights. Let us sign that discharge petition today.