Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joined 166 of her colleagues today on a petition to bring managed care reform to the House floor immediately. If the petition reaches 218 signatures, the reform bill will be "discharged" from its logjam and brought to the House floor for debate.
Two weeks ago, the House Republican Leadership announced its intention to bring forward a series of small bills that would allegedly provide greater patient protections. Like the 1998 managed care reform bill, these eight piecemeal bills fail to provide several important patient protections and contain only watered-down versions of other protections.
The American Medical Association and 31 other key organizations concerned about enacting comprehensive patient protections this year fired off a letter to the Republicans saying that "the bill falls well short of the mark, both in terms of the provisions contained in the bill and in terms of those provisions that are not currently included in the legislation."
Pelosi observed, "At least 13 million Californians and 122 million Americans are without enforceable protections on health-care plans. That is why I joined my Democratic colleagues and signed my name to a discharge petition to bring the comprehensive Patients' Bill of Rights immediately to the House floor." The discharge petition would make in order a rule providing for an open debate on all major managed-care reform proposals, including the Patients' Bill of Rights.
"Despite the insurance industry's efforts to derail the Patients' Bill of Rights, I am committed to keeping managed-care reform at the top of the Congressional agenda," said Pelosi. "There is nothing more important to family security than access to quality health care. Human health must come before the corporate bottom line. We must preserve and protect the doctor-patient relationship and put health-care providers ahead of insurance-company accountants."
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