Teamsters Update on Congress
SENATE PASSES PATIENTS'
BILL OF RIGHTS "LITE"
Voting mostly along party lines, the Senate passed a watered-down
version of legislation that applies some patient protections to only 48
million people in self-funded plans. It does not help 113 million people
who get their health insurance from their employers or buy it on their
own. Several Democratic amendments that would have provided stronger
protections for patients of HMOs were defeated, including one allowing
doctors, not health plan officials, to determine whether a treatment is
medically necessary. Also defeated were amendments to allow women the
right to use obstetricians and gynecologists as their primary doctors and
to prohibit limits on the length of a hospital stay after breast cancer
surgery. While the Republican proposal guarantees that patients can visit
medical specialists on a timely basis, plans can require that specialty
care first be approved by the patient's primary physician, leaving
patients at the mercy of their HMO. President Clinton has promised to veto
the bill if it reaches his desk.
DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSE? OR COLUMBUS, OHIO, OR CASPER,
That's what Mexican truck drivers seem to be asking. A recent review of
Mexican carriers traveling outside of the currently permitted commercial
zones by the Inspector General (IG) of the Department Transportation (DOT)
found 68 Mexican companies operating illegally in 24 states, as far north
as North Dakota and Wyoming and as far east as New York and Florida. In a
recent letter to DOT Secretary Rodney Slater, General President Jim Hoffa
demanded that a full scale IG investigation be launched to determine the
real scope of this illegal activity and for DOT to revoke the operating
authority of these Mexican carriers caught outside the commercial zones
and bar them from entry into the U.S. If you see a Mexican truck operating
outside the commercial zones, call the Government Affairs office at (202)
624-8741 with the name of the carrier, the date, time and place, and we'll
pass it on to the IG's office.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
The Federal Highway Administration's Office of Motor Carriers (OMC)
which regulates truck, bus and commercial driver safety has recently come
under fire for being too cozy to the trucking industry.
An investigation by the Department of Transportation's Inspector
General into illegal lobbying activities of the OMC has revealed that the
troubled agency "does not have the arms-length relationship called for
between a government agency and the industry it is supposed to regulate."
That investigation finally awoke a sleeping Congress with several Members
introducing proposals to restructure or reform the OMC.
The Teamsters Union recently unveiled its ten-part plan to ensure that
whatever reforms are made within the OMC will result in greater
enforcement and safer highways. The plan emphasizes increased driver
training, better enforcement of current regulations, increased truck and
bus safety inspections and continued education of the driving public in
sharing the responsibility for safety with truck drivers.
"Our goal is to provide greater highway safety for our members and the
traveling public," said General President Jim Hoffa. "The OMC has to get
back to its mission of inspection and enforcement. It should focus on
getting the bad carriers out of the business and the bad drivers off the
Call Congress At 1-202-224-3121 or 1-202-225-3121
Ask The Operator For Your Representative Or
Send an E-mail
to Your Representative or Senator
©1999 The International