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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 29, 1998
                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
        On New Bipartisan Support for the Patients' Bill of Rights

I am extremely pleased that today at least nine Republican Members of Congress joined as cosponsors to H.R. 3605, the Patients' Bill of Rights Act of 1998. In announcing their support for this legislation, they are sending a strong signal that it is unacceptable for this Congress to adjourn this year without passing a strong patients' rights bill.

I commend Representatives Ganske, Bass, Forbes, Fox, Gilchrest, Graham, Horn, LaTourette, and Leach for their leadership, and I look forward to working with them. We have learned again and again that when we reach across party lines we can pass important legislation that improves our nation's health care system. Making the Patients' Bill of Rights Act of 1998 bipartisan provides new momentum towards ensuring that a patients' bill of rights will become the law of the land.

The Patients' Bill of Rights Act of 1998, recently introduced by Representative Dingell, provides long overdue protections that Americans need to renew their confidence in the nation's rapidly changing health care system. It allows patients to see the specialists they need; to get emergency care wherever and whenever a medical emergency arises; to talk freely with doctors and nurses about all the medical options available -- not only the cheapest; and to appeal when they have grievances about their health care.

I urge Congress to send me legislation that gives Americans the health care protections they need and deserve. I look forward to working with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we pass a strong patients' bill of rights this year.