|For Immediate Release|
ENDORSES NORWOOD-DINGELL PATIENTS RIGHTS BILL
"This bill delivers the strong protections that patients need and voters want"
Washington The American Medical Association today announced its support for the bipartisan Norwood-Dingell patients rights bill (H.R. 2723) and called for patients, physicians and the public to mobilize behind the legislation.
"This bill delivers the essential protections patients and voters are demanding," said Thomas R. Reardon, MD, president of the AMA. "Doctors will be allowed to make medical decisions. Health plans will be held accountable for their actions. Patients can appeal if their care is delayed or denied. And the bills protections will apply to everyone with private health insurance."
The AMAs Board of Trustees voted to endorse the bill during a meeting over the weekend in Chicago. Though the AMA has long-advocated strong patient protections, this is the first time this congressional session that AMA has endorsed a specific patients rights bill.
"The Norwood-Dingell bill is a win-win for patients and for Congress," Dr. Reardon said.
H.R. 2723 is sponsored by Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA) and John D. Dingell (D-MI). More than 60 Republican and Democratic members of the House of Representatives are co-sponsors.
"We are pleased that so many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are determined to enact fair, responsible and meaningful patient protections," Dr. Reardon said. "We will support any and all bills that get the job done the right way."
"The AMA also commends Representatives Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Shadegg of Arizona for their efforts to develop meaningful patient protection legislation. We will continue to work with Rep. Coburn, Rep. Shadegg and the House Republican leadership as the Coburn-Shadegg proposal moves toward introduction and formal consideration. We also want to thank Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert for promising a House floor vote on patients rights legislation in September."
"At the same time Id like to alert patients and the public that strong forces are at work against them on this issue. The insurance industry has diverted more than $100 million from patient care to pay for an irresponsible propaganda campaign intended to scare patients and intimidate members of Congress."
"We find it difficult to comprehend how the politics of greed can drive insurance executives to work to kill fundamental protections that members of their own families will need when they themselves require health care."
Dr. Reardon called for a stepped-up national drive to mobilize state medical societies, national medical specialty societies, national patient groups and other health organizations around a bipartisan coalition supporting strong patients rights legislation.
"What Are HMOs So Afraid Of?" is the theme of AMA-designed ads running this week in the hometown newspapers of 28 members of the House of Representatives. The AMA, American Dental Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Patient Access Coalition (a national coalition of 129 patient advocacy and provider groups) are financing the ad campaign.
"We can never match the insurance
industrys anti-patient war chest, but we have something better on our side
the will of the public to see that Congress enacts patients rights legislation and
our commitment as physicians to be sure patients receive necessary care," Dr. Reardon