CONGRESS MUST PASS THE PATIENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS -- (House of Representatives - August 03, 1999)

[Page: H6853]


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

   Mr. HOEFFEL. Madam Speaker, we must pass the Patients' Bill of Rights. Our system of HMOs has run amok.

   As evidence, I offer a survey of doctors conducted by one of the newspapers in my district, the Reporter, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Most of the doctors responding were not against the original idea of HMOs, they have just said the rules have gone haywire.

   Eighty-seven percent of the doctors responding have had conflicts with HMOs. Fifty-eight percent of those say the conflicts have been serious, and happen frequently. Seventy percent of the doctors say they do not have sufficient control over treatment.

   As damning as the numbers are, the doctor's comments say even more. Dr. Ruth Schiller, a Harleysville, Pennsylvania, pediatrician, says that ``HMOs are worse in the sense that I cannot make all of the decisions for appropriate care.''

   Another doctor said, ``The American people need to wake up. Their lives are in danger with HMO control. Doctors have to put away their medical books and do what the HMO manual says for their patients.''

   A third doctor was afraid to sign his survey for fear of HMO retaliation. Something has gone wrong. ``HMO'' stands for How Much Outrage must the American people put up with? Pass the Patients' Bill of Rights.