Lawmakers ‘No Closer’ to Agreement on Patients’ Rights
After a White House meeting yesterday, the Bush administration and key senators moved "no closer" to an agreement on patients' rights legislation, the Los Angeles Times reports. Lawmakers "failed to resolve their differences" over liability provisions in the legislation, "setting the stage" for "contentious debate" in the Senate next week (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 6/15). According to CongressDaily, participants "made no detectable progress" on the "major outstanding issues," including whether patients could sue HMOs and insurers in state court and caps on damage awards. The meeting included Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Edwards (D-N.C.), John Breaux (D-La.), Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Phil Gramm (R-Texas), James Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Don Nickles (R-Okla.), as well as HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and senior White House aides. After the meeting, lawmakers concluded that the "critical differences would be settled on the floor." Senate Democrats plan to move a patients' rights bill (S 283), sponsored by Kennedy, McCain and Edwards, to the floor next week (CongressDaily, 6/14).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.