THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Aboard Air Force One)
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER OF THE SENATE
June 8, 2000
Dear Mr. Leader:
I am writing to express my strong support for your effort to give the Senate its first opportunity to vote for the bipartisan Norwood-Dingell Patients' Bill of Rights. It is long past time that the Congress acted to deliver real patient protections for all Americans in all health plans.
It is my understanding that the members of the Senate/House Conference who support a strong, enforceable, Patients' Bill of Rights have reluctantly concluded that the likelihood of an acceptable bill emerging from the conference is remote. After 8 months of inaction since the House passed the Norwood-Dingell Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care Improvement Act, and with very few scheduled legislative days remaining, it is time for the Congress to act to pass this legislation and give Americans the patient protections they deserve.
Congress has failed to pass this measure for years, and this delay has real consequences. According to a recent study, each day without a strong Patients' Bill of Rights results in harm to thousands of patients because insurance companies refused a patient a diagnostic test, a necessary procedure, or a referral to a specialist.
It is my hope that the Senate will approve this legislation today and take the next important step toward the enactment of a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights. I urge the Senate to put the interests of patients before those of the special interests and replicate last fall's bipartisan achievement by the House of Representatives.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
# # #