NORWOOD: Patients’ Rights ‘Champion’ at Odds with Party
Rep. Charles Norwood's (R-Ga.) support for strong patients' rights legislation is "curious for a lawmaker who, in most other regards, is a conservative prototype," the Washington Post reports. Arriving on Capitol Hill in 1995, Norwood is a strong opponent of gun control and won an award at the end of his first year in office from the U.S. Business and Industrial Council, which lauded his "zeal for curbing taxes and regulation." Norwood said, "I really truly believed then, and I really truly believe now, that the regulations and rules that come out of this town are way too many." But Norwood, a dentist, has nevertheless run a "crusade against managed care" that began soon after his arrival in Washington after being spurred on by complaints from doctors and fellow dentists. His efforts on this front have won him praise from colleagues such as Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) -- who, with Norwood, co-wrote the patients' rights bill that passed the House last fall -- but others are not as complimentary. "Charlie's on this total ego trip," one unnamed Republican lawmaker said. As "punishment for his defection," GOP leaders kept Norwood off a conference committee working to resolve differences between the House measure and a less comprehensive version that passed the Senate last year. But Norwood's support from medical and consumer groups has nevertheless made him the "man GOP leaders are trying to appease" as they work to finish negotiations. "It can be critical right now ... if he's going to be a team player or if he's going off the deep end," a GOP leadership aide said (Goldstein, 6/28).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.