Americans Back Democrats on Patients’ Rights Over Bush
Forty-nine percent of Americans "trust" Congressional Democrats on the issue of patients' rights legislation, compared to 34% who trust President Bush, according to a new Gallup poll. The survey also found that the issue ranks second among "congressional priorities," with more than 80% of respondents saying that "getting a patients' bill of rights passed is extremely or very important" (Gallup.com, 6/12).
Meanwhile, Roll Call reports that Rep. Charles Norwood (R-Ga.) "is about to drop a legislative bomb on the White House" by signaling his support for a patients' rights proposal from Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.) (S 283), which President Bush has threatened to veto. A private memo by Norwood aide John Stone, sent to 35 House members involved in the patients' rights debate, states: "After working with our new White House and leadership since February, [Norwood] has been unable to reach any reasonable compromise on patients' rights. He has offered every possible concession on every provision, without a single reciprocation by the administration." President Bush supports a proposal from Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), James Jeffords (I-Vt.) and John Breaux (D-La.) (S 889), which would offer a less expansive right to sue health plans than the Kennedy-McCain-Edwards bill. Stone told Roll Call that Norwood's support for the latter will "spell the end" of the Frist-Jeffords-Breaux measure. "It's dead on arrival. It's not even worth bringing up on the Senate floor," he said (Henry, Roll Call, 6/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.