View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 22, 1998
                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
                      ON THE PATIENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS

Today, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a new report that confirms our longstanding belief that the cost of the Quality Commission's patients' bill of rights, which I have endorsed, is modest and well worth the protections it would provide. By affirming the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) estimates, the Kaiser report convincingly rebuts the scare tactics that some have used to undermine bipartisan efforts in the Congress to pass a patients' bill of rights this year.

Many Americans today lack the protections necessary to ensure high quality health care. They may not be able to see the specialists they need, or to get emergency care wherever and whenever a medical emergency arises. They may not be able to talk freely with doctors and nurses about all the medical options available -- not only the cheapest. They may have no place to go to present grievances about their health care. The Quality Commission's patients' bill of rights guarantees Americans these and other common sense protections.

The Kaiser Report reaffirms recent estimates by the CBO that these protections would increase health insurance premiums less than one percent (less than $3 per family per month). The improvement in the quality of health care that will result from these protections is more than worth the very modest premium increases projected by both Kaiser and CBO.

This report again shows the utter groundlessness of claims that a patients' bill of rights will significantly increase health care costs. With this new information, there is no excuse left for inaction. I therefore call on Congress again to send me legislation that gives Americans the health care protections they need and deserve. I look forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we pass a strong patient's bill of rights this year.