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For Immediate Release
September 9, 1999

Margaret Sotham, 202/986-2600


Statement by Judith L. Lichtman, President
National Partnership for Women & Families

Although Congress already has a prescription to cure managed care's ills, Representatives Coburn and Shadegg are pushing a placebo instead -- one that would leave untreated many of the problems women and families face. The Coburn-Shadegg bill announced today is cynically designed to steer attention away from the strong, bipartisan patient protection legislation introduced last month by Representatives Norwood and Dingell and widely endorsed by republican and democratic lawmakers, the president, and more than 150 patient and provider organizations.

The Coburn-Shadegg proposal fails women and families in some serious ways. It:

  • denies access to potentially lifesaving clinical trials that could be a woman's last, best hope for beating cancer;

  • won't let patients hold managed care plans truly accountable for bad decisions;

  • gives HMOs, insurance companies, and hospitals license to retaliate against health professionals who blow the whistle on bad care;

  • restricts choice of ob/gyn providers;

  • purports to ban "gag" clauses but may actually allow health plans and employers to keep providers from discussing services like reproductive health options;

  • lets health plans deny access to drugs not on the plan's predetermined list -- even the best drug for the patient's condition.

The Norwood-Dingell bill (H.R. 2723) gives women and families their best chance to win meaningful protections. Congress shouldn't be fooled by the Coburn-Shadegg placebo.


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National Partnership for Women & Families.