July 15, 1999

                  Senate Praised for "Common Sense" Action on Liability, Medical Necessity in Patients' Rights Debate

HLC Statement: Congressional Focus Needs to be on Medicare and the Uninsured Rather Than Red Tape, Lawsuits

WASHINGTON – The Healthcare Leadership Council issued the following statement following the U.S. Senate's passage of patients' rights legislation today:

The United States Senate used common sense in deciding that quality health care is not achieved through increased litigation.  Nor is it achieved with "medical necessity" laws that would deny patients access to the best possible care.

The Senate – with strong leadership from Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) –  deserves praise for its prudence.  It excluded provisions from patients' rights legislation that would have raised health care costs, increased the number of uninsured Americans and undermined health care quality.  

Now, the Senate can turn to important health care issues such as Medicare reform and meeting the needs of America's uninsured.  There are 43 million Americans who are without health care coverage.  The nation's Medicare program is going broke, is plagued with bureaucracy and inefficiency, and offers inadequate benefits to seniors. 

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


The Healthcare Leadership Council is a coalition of chief executives of the nation's leading health care companies and institutions.

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