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Thursday, June 8, 2000

Kirsten Weeks, 202/986-2600

Senate Should Put Patients Before Profits

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

Senators hiding behind the stalled managed care conference committee will be exposed today when they vote on the Norwood-Dingell patients’ bill of rights. American voters will finally learn who stands for patients and who rolls over for HMO profits.

The Norwood-Dingell bill passed the House last October with an overwhelmingly strong bi-partisan vote and has been languishing in conference committee ever since. Committee members failed to hammer out a final bill, forcing champions of strong patient protections to take their fight directly to the Senate floor.

The Norwood-Dingell bill will provide the strong, enforceable patient protections Americans want and need. It will hold health plans accountable when they harm a patient, protect patients from paying out-of-pocket for emergency room services, provide an independent appeals process, and guarantee that treatment decisions are based on medical, not financial, concerns. And, the Norwood-Dingell bill covers all insured Americans without excluding millions left out of other proposals like firefighters, teachers and church employees.

Americans are sick of dealing with a managed care system with no accountability. Senators should end their suffering and stand up for patients by voting to pass the Norwood-Dingell bill.


The National Partnership for Women & Families (formerly the Women’s Legal Defense Fund) is leading a coalition of patient and provider groups that support strong, enforceable patient protections. The National Partnership is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes fairness in the workplace, quality health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.

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