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



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 8, 2000


Contact: Nancey McCann (703) 591-2220
Camille Sorosiak (301) 897-2620
Richard Green (202) 789-5166

Internet Campaign Mobilizes Grassroots to Demand that Congress Pass a Real Patients' Bill of Rights

Washington, D.C. -- Calling for "an end to HMO abuses," the 67-member Patient Access Coalition launched its second cyber advocacy campaign for patient rights legislation March 2. The campaign will offer free, instant e-mail communications to members of Congress.

The cyber appeal comes as House and Senate members in a joint conference committee meet to craft a compromise patient rights bill reconciling the differences between bills passed by the House in October and the Senate last July.

The coalition supports the House bill, sponsored by Reps. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.), because it protects patients' option to choose their own health care providers and guarantees access to needed specialty care. Furthermore, the House bill guarantees access to fair and timely review procedures to help patients resolve coverage disputes. The Senate measure is weak in comparison and contains far too many loopholes on even most very basic protections.The coalition believes that any patient protection bill considered by Congress must cover all Americans. The Senate bill is limited to only those 48 million Americans covered by self-insured plans, while the House bill would cover all of the approximately 160 million people with private health coverage.

The campaign, which urges readers to "Tell Congress You Want an End to HMO Abuses," can be found at http://congress.nw.dc.us/pac.

The appeal will be available as a banner ad on Slate, Microsoft's online magazine, and as a both banner and a pop-up ad on the screens of subscribers of Juno.com, the nation's second largest Internet service provider.

The coalition's first cyber lobbying campaign last fall, "Tell Congress You Want a Real Patients' Bill of Rights," generated thousands e-mails to key members of Congress in the days leading up to the 275-151 House of Representatives vote in favor of the bipartisan Norwood/Dingell patient protection bill.

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