‘Debate’ Prescription Drugs, Patients’ Rights
Although a continent apart, Rep. James Rogan (R-Glendale) and challenger state Sen. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) sparred yesterday on the issues of patients' rights and a Medicare prescription drug benefit in the battle for California's 27th Congressional District seat. The Los Angeles Times reports that Rogan, still in the nation's capital because the House has not yet adjourned, spoke via videotape to a group of seniors in Pasadena. He defended his vote against the House-passed Norwood-Dingell patients' rights bill (HR 2723), saying it would increase employer liability for employee suits over health coverage. "The trial lawyers who would make billions of dollars off these frivolous lawsuits are backing Adam Schiff," Rogan said, adding that he supports patients' rights legislation without additional employer liability. Schiff responded later in a telephone interview with the Times, saying that his opponent supports "HMO-industry backed" legislation, and overstates Norwood-Dingell's risk to employers. "Sixty-eight Republican members of Congress joined in supporting this bipartisan bill. I don't see how (Rogan) can explain how such a strong group of his colleagues feel[s] he is on the wrong side of this issue," Schiff said. Rogan also criticized Schiff's support for providing a prescription drug benefit directly through Medicare, saying it "would unreasonably limit the choice of seniors to a government-run program." Rogan touted his advocacy of a plan for private insurers to provide prescription drug options for seniors "without forcing them into a government-run HMO with a one-size-fits-all approach." Schiff countered that Rogan's proposal is a "pharmaceutical industry plan that would provide insurance companies tax incentives without guaranteeing they would provide affordable prescription drugs to Medicare recipients" (McGreevy, Los Angeles Time, 11/3).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.