THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY VICE PRESIDENT GORE ON THE PATIENTS' HEALTH CARE BILL OF RIGHTS
Washington DC -- Last year, President Clinton appointed a Health Care Quality Commission to study the strengths and weaknesses of our health care system -- and to find a way to improve access not only to affordable health care, but to affordable, quality health care. I had the privilege of presenting to the President the most crucial work of that Commission: the Patients' Bill of Rights.
The Patients' Bill of Rights proposes specific, common-sense rights like access to specialists, access to emergency services, choice of providers, confidentiality of medical records and the right to appeal the decisions of a health plan. Put simply, the Patients' Bill of Rights ensures that today's health care system works for American families, not against them.
Like millions of Americans, I firmly believe that when doctors are in the examination room, their attention should be entirely focused on their patients' physical condition, not their fiscal condition.
Currently, only half of all Americans enrolled in managed care enjoy the protections provided in the Patients' Bill of Rights. Let me be clear: half is not good enough. Every American in a managed care plan should be guaranteed basic rights and protections -- and we can only reach that goal by passing a national Patients' Bill of Rights.
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