Bush Outlines Patients Bill of Rights Requirements

March 22, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - President George Bush says he won't sign a patient's bill of rights that would encourage unnecessary litigation and drive up insurance premiums, specifically rejecting a bill put forth by Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy.

The President reiterated his belief that any federal bill have “reasonable caps on damage awards.”

Bush also emphasized his commitment to keeping these actions in the federal court system, in an effort to simplify things for employers who do business in multiple states.

Speaking before a meeting of cardiologists in Florida, Bush outlined what he considers key elements of a viable bill, including:

  • It must cover everyone, including “all patients in all private health plans
  • Insurers must be forced to pay for reasonable emergency room treatments, specialists, obstetrician-gynecologists, pediatricians, as well as participation in clinical trials when standard treatments are not effective
  • Patients must be given a “fair and immediate review” by an independent panel of physicians if an insurer denies medical care.

After that independent review, a patient should have the right to seek redress in court for any harm done by the HMO’s refusal to provide care.