October 4, 1999

SUPPORT PATIENTS’ RIGHTS

SUPPORT THE NORWOOD-DINGELL MANAGED CARE REFORM ACT VOTE FOR A CLEAN AND FAIR RULE

Dear Representative:

We are writing on behalf of state Public Interest Research Groups and consumers generally to urge your support of H.R. 2723, the Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care Improvement Act of 1999 introduced by Representatives Charles Norwood and John Dingell. We urge you to vote for a clean and fair rule that allows for full consideration of H.R. 2723, and which does not combine this bill with anti-consumer weakening amendments. The Norwood-Dingell Bill is the only legislation before the House that protects consumers.

We urge you to support H.R. 2723 because it the only meaningful managed care legislation that protects consumers. Most significantly, it is the only managed care reform legislation that contains liability provisions that hold HMO’s fully accountable for their mistakes and the subsequent injuries consumers suffer. The liability provisions provide consumers access to fair remedies if health plan decisions cause them harm. H.R. 2723 also includes an independent external review process that assures that patients receive a fair and objective review process if their medical care was denied or insufficient. Such independent review mechanisms help to ensure that patients receive the best medical treatment possible.

We therefore urge you to oppose any weakening amendments to this bipartisan bill. These amendments will be offered as poison pills to kill H.R. 2723’s most important consumer protections. Particularly, we urge you to oppose the Graham Amendment which will gut the crucial liability language of the Norwood-Dingell bill. We also urge you to consider any access amendments as entirely separate and distinct legislation. It is imperative that Norwood-Dingell pass as a clean and unaltered bill to ensure that consumers’ rights are protected.

The Norwood-Dingell Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care Reform legislation is the only managed care reform legislation before the House that protects consumers. A vote for any other legislation or any weakening or gutting amendments is a vote against consumers.

Sincerely,

Rachel Weintraub
Staff Attorney

   


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