Presidential candidates Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman are endorsing the patients' Bill of Rights, legislation NFIB has fought strongly against.

"There's an emergency in America all right, and it's the lack of a strong enforceable patients' bill of rights," Gore said last week, according to the AP.

The policy would set minimum standards of care for businesses, potentially costing small business owners millions in lawsuits. NFIB fears that small employers would be held liable for bad decisions made by doctors. Mandates in the legislation would also drive up the cost of health care significantly.

In a new television ad, Gore says such a bill is needed "to take the medical decisions away from the HMOs and insurance companies and give them back to the doctors and nurses."

"A lot of times some bean counter behind a computer terminal, who doesn't have a license to practice medicine and doesn't have a right to play God, will overrule the doctor's orders," Gore says in the ad.

Gore has also said he would support a universal health care system in the United States.

Candidate George W. Bush does not support the patients' Bill of Rights, and told NFIB that, "Patients should have the ability to resolve their disputes first with an independent reviewer, and then if necessary, in courts. Any federal legislation should state, like the law does in Texas, that employers cannot be sued."

In addition, Bush told NFIB that small businesses should be allowed to band together to acquire Association Health Plans (AHP).

"Gov. Bush has put his finger squarely on the real crisis in health care -- the growing number of people unable to afford health coverage of any kind," said NFIB President Jack Faris. "We are delighted that he recognizes AHPs as the single most effective means of lowering the costs of skyrocketing premiums which are pricing more and more small business owners and employees out of the health care market."

Gore, however, has spoken out against AHPs.

"Association Health Plans are the single most cost-effective way to address the nation's greatest health-care crisis: the growing number of people without any kind of health coverage," Faris said. "The Vice President's campaign is off-base to criticize this much needed reform."