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                       Office of the Press Secretary
                    (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
For Immediate Release                                    August 23, 1999


Protecting the health of America's families is not and should never be a partisan issue. Demonstrating this fact, the American Medical Association, the largest organization of physicians in the nation, has just endorsed the bipartisan Patients' Bill of Rights sponsored by Congressman Norwood and Congressman Dingell.

The AMA's action sends a strong message to Congress that it is time to put politics aside and pass a Patients' Bill of Rights that provides meaningful protections for all Americans in all health plans, and holds plans accountable when their actions cause harm to patients. With over 20 House Republicans cosponsoring the Norwood-Dingell bill, it is clear that a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives is ready to vote for a strong and enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights.

The bipartisan Norwood-Dingell coalition has placed the needs of patients over the desires of special interests. It is long past time for the entire Congress to follow suit. I reiterate my call to Speaker Hastert to schedule a vote on this important legislation immediately upon return from the Congressional recess in September.

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