Sen. Edwards Lashes Out at Frist-Breaux Draft

March 14, 2001 ( - Senator John Edwards (D-NC) has lashed out at a new patient's bill of rights from Senators Frist (R-TN) and Breaux (D-LA), still in the draft stages.

Edwards called the bill an “HMO Bill of Rights”, according to CongressDaily/A.M., and said the terms of the draft “appear to have multiple problems”, including:

  • A provision that would allow states to opt out of having to adopt the federal patient protection standards if a governor could show that it would raise health care costs in the state by 2% or more
  • A requirement that most new cases be tried in federal court, which Edwards said don’t have the resources to handle the cases

The Frist-Breaux bill would also let a state opt out if it could establish that:

Never miss a story — sign up for PLANSPONSOR newsletters to keep up on the latest retirement plan benefits news.

  • It has a state protection that is essentially the same or
  • It has low HMO enrollment

In its current form, the Frist-Breaux bill ( Employers Might Find Patient Protection in Frist Bill ) would:

  • Allow employers to designate a third party that will have “clear and exclusive” authority to make determinations that give rise to a cause of action
  • Require patients to exhaust administrative appeals before going to court
  • Bar punitive damages
  • Limit non-economic damages to $500,000.

– Nevin Adams