Americans to Congress: Enact a Patients' Bill of Rights This Year
Nationwide Poll and Thousands of E-Mail Letters Show Overwhelming Public Support

For Immediate Release
May 25, 2000
Camille Sorosiak (301) 897-2620
Richard Green (202) 789-5166

Americans to Congress: Enact a Patients' Bill of Rights This Year
Nationwide Poll and Thousands of E-Mail Letters Show Overwhelming Public Support

Washington, D.C. Despite the millions of dollars spent by the insurance industry to sway public opinion, Americans still want Congress to enact a real patients' bill of rights this year, according to the results of a nationwide poll revealed today.

The poll, commissioned by the Patient Access Coalition and conducted May 1823 by the Luntz Research Companies and Laszlo & Associates, Inc. shows:

  • 87 percent of voters believe it is important that Congress enact a patients' bill of rights this year;

  • 72 percent of voters would support enactment of a patients' bill of rights, even if it meant a monthly premium increase of $15; and

  • 60 percent of voters say they will be more likely to vote against their member of Congress if he or she votes against a patients' bill of rights this year.

As added testament to the public's support for enactment of a real patients' bill of rights, in just two months nearly 25,000 e-mail letters have been sent to members of Congress calling for an "end to HMO abuses." The letters ask Congress to support the patient protection bill sponsored by Reps. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) and John Dingell, (D-Mich.). The e-mail letters were generated through an Internet campaign sponsored by the Patient Access Coalition, which can be found at http://home.patientaccess.com/pac/update.html.

At a news conference today, Rep. Norwood will read stories from some of the individuals who sent letters to their members of Congress explaining why patient protections are so important. The news conference will be held on Capitol Hill today at 4 p.m. in 1539 Longworth House Office Building.

The Patient Access Coalition represents 68 patient advocacy and provider groups fighting for enactment of comprehensive and meaningful patient protections this year.

LASZLO/LUNTZ POLL SHOWS 87% OF AMERICANS WANT CONGRESS TO ENACT PATIENT'S BILL OF RIGHTS THIS YEAR

Now, I am going to read you a number of statements about healthcare and the Patient's Bill of Rights issues being discussed in Congress today.

1. Compared to other issues and legislation, how important is it for Congress to enact a Patient's Bill of Rights this year? (Total important: 87% )

a. Extremely Important 34%
b. Very important 31%
c. Somewhat important 22%
d. Not Really Important 5%
e. Not at all important 3%
f. Don't Know/refused 4.5%

(Note: 79% of Bush voters and 95% of Gore voters say it is important)

2. And would you be much more likely to vote AGAINST, somewhat more likely to vote AGAINST, somewhat more likely to vote FOR, or much more likely to vote FOR your member of Congress if he or she voted AGAINST the a Patient's Bill of Rights this year?

a. Much more likely to vote against 33%
b. Somewhat more likely to vote against 27%
c. Somewhat more likely to vote for 10%
d. Much more likely to vote for 9%
e. DK 21%

(Note: 56% of Bush voters and 65% of Gore voters likely vote against)

3. If you knew that enacting a comprehensive Patients' Bill of Rights that guarantees patients get the health care they need when they need it would cost $15 more per month per person, would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the legislation? (Total support: 72%)

a. Strongly support 37%
b. Somewhat support 35%
c. Somewhat oppose 9.6%
d. Strongly oppose 8%
e. DK 10%

(Note: 65% of Bush voters and 83% of Gore voters support)

Poll of 800 Registered voters (margin of error +/- 3.5%) was conducted May 18-23, 2000 by the bi-partisan team of Jennifer Laszlo, a Democratic strategist, and Frank Luntz, Ph.D., best known for his work on the Contract with America.


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