THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND GOVERNOR CARNAHAN URGE THE CONGRESS TO ACT NOW TO
PASS A STRONG, ENFORCEABLE PATIENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS New Independent Analysis Highlights the Flaws in the Senate Republican Bill
Today, President Clinton, along with Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, will highlight a new legal analysis documenting how the Senate Republican "Patients' Bill of Rights" passed just last week would actually undermine state-based accountability provisions already available under current law. This review, produced by respected legal scholars at George Washington and Rutgers Universities at the request of Congressman Dingell (D-MI), concludes that enactment of the Senate Republican bill would be "far worse than were Congress to enact no measure at all."
In addition to highlighting this new analysis, the President will detail other serious shortcomings of the Senate Republican bill, which passed just last week without attracting a single Democratic vote. Specifically, he will point out that this flawed legislation would: fail to provide full protections to more than 135 million Americans; allow health plans to subject patients accessing emergency care to financial penalties; fail to guarantee real access to specialists; and establish a wholly inadequate enforcement mechanism that prevents plans from being accountable when they make harmful decisions. He will stress that the Congress is one vote away from achieving a majority vote for the bipartisan Norwood-Dingell legislation, which has been endorsed by over 200 health care provider and consumer advocacy groups. Finally, the President will praise Governor Carnahan for his leadership in passing a strong state version of the Patients' Bill of Rights and for illustrating that meaningful patient protections passed at the state level has had no negative impact on premiums or the number of the uninsured.
NEW LEGAL ANALYSIS CONFIRMS THAT THE SENATE BILL IS AN EMPTY PROMISE. The President will highlight the release of a new legal analysis documenting how the Senate Republican "Patients' Bill of Rights" passed just last week would actually undermine state-based accountability provisions already available under current law. The Senate bill would:
PRESIDENT CLINTON CITED THE MISSOURI EXPERIENCE TO DEBUNK SCARE TACTICS OF THE OPPONENTS OF MEANINGFUL PATIENT PROTECTIONS. The President will praise Governor Carnahan for leading the way in enacting strong patient protections at the state level. While agreeing with the Governor that the only way to cover all Americans in all plans is to enact a Federal Patients' Bill of Rights, the President will praise the Missouri legislation for illustrating that meaningful patient protections can be enacted into law without any negative impact on premiums or the number of the uninsured.
PRESIDENT CLINTON UNDERSCORES THAT THE SENATE IS WITHIN ONE VOTE OF PASSING A REAL PATIENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS. The President will underscore today that the Senate is only one vote away from passing a strong, enforceable, Patients' Bill of Rights, similar to the bipartisan Norwood-Dingell Patients' Bill of Rights. That legislation, endorsed by over 200 health care provider and consumer advocacy groups, is the only bipartisan proposal currently being considered that includes:
PRESIDENT CLINTON REITERATES THAT HE WILL NOT SIGN A PATIENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS THAT REPRESENTS AN EMPTY PROMISE. Today, the President will reiterate his refusal to enact legislation that does not provide strong patient protections for all Americans in all health plans and include meaningful enforcement mechanisms. To date, there is no legislation other than the Norwood-Dingell bill that meets the Administration's fundamental criteria of real patient protections and accessible and meaningful court-enforced remedies.
CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION'S LONGSTANDING COMMITMENT TO PROMOTING PATIENTS' RIGHTS. The Administration has a long history of promoting patients rights, and President Clinton has already extended many of these protections through executive action to the 85 million Americans who get their health care through federal plans - from Medicare and Medicaid, to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP), to the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. The Administration's record on patients' rights include: