Cyber-Lobbyists Blitz Congress with e-mail Demanding a "Real Patients' Bill of Rights"



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 6, 1999

Contact:
Nancey McCann (703) 591-2220
Camille Sorosiak (301) 897-2620
Robert B. Raible (202) 789-5166


As the House of Representatives debates managed care reform, people across the country continue to bombard congressional offices with e-mail messages demanding that Congress take action to protect patients from abuses by managed health care plans.

Visitors to the Patient Access Coalition's grassroots action Web site (http://congress.nw.dc.us/pac) are e-mailing their members of Congress to demand:

the option of choosing out-of-network health professionals;
timely access to care from specialists;
a fair timely and independent appeals process;
a consumer information checklist;
a ban on financial incentives to limit or deny needed care; and
a ban on "gag" clauses that inhibit patient-provider communication.

Many people are appending personal stories. The following are samples of the hundreds of messages that are flowing into Congress each day:

"I have a friend who has cancer and was refused treatment by his Florida HMO. It cost him his business, and soon will cost him his life."

--Ron Kitzmiller, Merrill, Mich.


"Insurance companies must not be allowed to blackmail businesses and their employees by threatening to raise health insurance premiums! And the money saved and gained through managed care must not go exclusively into corporate profits and the pockets of insurance company executives."

--Lorraine Tracton, Fort Washington, Md.


"[HMOs] send a loud message to all of us that their bottom line is money, not the welfare of the sick and infirm. The patient's welfare must and will take first priority in this issue. Without a healthy nation, there will be no nation."

--Linda Framnes, Plantation, Fla.

"I will not allow any insurance company to dictate my medical care. What is wrong with this country? It is a sad time for Americans when they cannot be treated by a physician of their choice. I guess it all comes down to dollars and cents. How pathetic! Please vote for a real Patients' Bill of Rights."

--Lucy Miranda, Tampa, Fla.


"We had pretty good medical care in this country until the HMOs got so powerful. Now those who have health insurance generally pay more for less coverage. Many people cannot choose their own doctors and have little or no say in their own health care. It is socialized medicine without the benefits."

--Alice Wilkinson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa


"Pay attention to the example of Texas and not the scare tactics of the HMO lobby about 'Trial Lawyers' and loss of insurance!"

--Buddie Leib, San Diego, Calif.


"Every year I pay more and more for medical coverage and get less and less service. The whole medical industry is out of control. I'm really getting tired of bean counters making important medical decisions concerning my family's health. Please make a REAL patients' Bill of Rights a priority."

--Tim Campbell, Bay Shore, N.Y.


"I think the original intent of HMO's was good, however, when I have to wait ten days to get referrals and not to the doctors of my choice, I feel the HMOs do not have the patient's best interest at heart."

--Sharon Ronnow, Reno, Nev.


"HMOs have so much control on whether I can take my family to a specialist or not. I don't just run to a doctor because I need a good chat! [] Since my husband pays for health insurance in his paycheck and I pay at the doctor's office I expect better services and treatment from the HMOs."

--Sheri Hodge, Lawrenceville, Ga.


"Decisions on health care should not be left up to the insurance carriers and their employees."

--Mary Archey, Pittsfield, Mass.


The Patient Access Coalition represents more than 130 patient advocacy and provider groups fighting for comprehensive and meaningful patient protection legislation.


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