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Healthcare Leadership Council

 July 16, 1999HI

July 16, 1999

Senate Passes Common-Sense Patients' Rights Bill

The U.S. Senate exercised common sense in deciding that quality health care is not achieved through more litigation.

    •  Nor is quality health care achieved with "medical necessity" laws that would deny patients access to the best possible care.

    •  The only beneficiaries of more lawsuits are lawyers, not patients.  Wisely, the Senate passed patients' rights legislation that gets at the needs of patients, not special interests.

The Senate, with strong leadership from Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., deserves praise for its prudence.

    •  Excluded from the patients' rights legislation that passed were provisions that would have raised health care costs, increased the number of uninsured and undermined health care quality.

    •  The best patient protection is having health coverage.  More lawsuits and higher health costs would only add to the number of Americans without health insurance.  A majority of the Senate wisely recognized these facts.

Now, the Senate can turn to important health care issues such as Medicare reform and access for the uninsured.

    •  The Medicare program is going broke, is plagued with 111,000 pages of red tape, and offers seniors inadequate benefits.

    •  There are 43 million Americans who are without health care coverage.

Congress needs to focus on building a better Medicare program and making health care coverage more accessible and affordable for all Americans.


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