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

[Page: H6852]


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

   Mr. SANDLIN. Madam Speaker, insurance companies, there they go again, attempting to mislead and deceive the American public. Television ads that they are placing all across this country incorrectly state that a Patients' Bill of Rights will make insurance premiums skyrocket.

   Nothing could be further from the truth. Madam Speaker, the State of Texas enacted these protections that the insurance companies claim will increase premiums. The Texas experience proves that the insurance companies are dead wrong. One of those protections that is most often cited is the right to sue an HMO if treatment is denied.

   Texas enacted a similar provision in 1997. There have been 516 complaints filed, half in favor of the patient, half in favor of the plan. Only three lawsuits have been filed, three lawsuits. That is hardly an explosion in a population of 20 million people.

   Texas has some of the lowest premium rates in the entire country, and a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that liability accounted for only 3 to 13 cents per person per month in premiums, 3 to 13 cents. Mr. Speaker, the Democrats are working to put the needs of patients first. Let us enact a real Patients' Bill of Rights, not a bill of goods.