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Wednesday, July 14, 1999 Cheryl Kelly at 202-429-1130

Statement by AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee
on the Need for a Real Patients’ Bill of Rights

Washington, DC -- “Americans should watch with concern over the next two days as members of the U.S. Senate conclude debate on the future of their health care. Tuesday night the Republican controlled Senate voted in favor of HMO bureaucrats and rejected major Democratic proposals to strengthen patients rights.

“The Senate will have a final opportunity on Thursday to decide in favor of a real Patients’ Bill of Rights. The choice is clear: a watered down version proposed by right-wing conservatives that protects the big insurers and their profits or the Democratic proposed legislation that guarantees basic rights to all health care consumers.

“The American people deserve a real Patients’ Bill of Rights -- one that:

  • Guarantees that treatment decisions are made by doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats; Provides a strong, independent external appeals process when a patient disagrees with his or her health plan regarding treatment decisions;

  • Allows health care consumers to hold managed care plans accountable when they make decisions that injure or kill patients;

  • Provides patient advocacy protections for health care workers so that they don’t risk their jobs when they report poor quality care to their employers, the government or health care accrediting agencies;

  • Extends patient protections to all families covered by managed care reform plans, including all state and local government employees.

“Only the Kennedy-Daschle bill provides these basic protections.

“The wait for a real Patients’ Bill of Rights has gone on far too long, it’s time for members of Congress to put special interest aside and pass a Patients’ Bill of Rights that will guarantee quality patient care for all Americans.”

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American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO

1625 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-5687
Telephone (202) 429-1130
Fax (202) 429-1120