PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: AMA Tries To Sway GOP Senators
The American Medical Association is continuing its effort to convince the Republican-controlled Senate to pass a "real" patients bill of rights, Reuters Health reports. Beginning later this month, AMA and state medical society leaders will travel nationwide to meet with physicians, patients, and the media to garner support for strong legislation. The AMA's efforts follow a July vote in which the Senate by party line vote approved a revised version of the bill of rights. AMA Executive Director Dr. E. Radcliff Anderson sent a letter to 49 Republicans who approved the measure, writing it "would leave patients worse off than under current statutory and case law." The AMA is trying to get at least one Republican to switch sides because it believes several would follow in order to prevent Vice President Al Gore from casting a tie-breaking vote. "All it will take is one vote. We expect several Republican senators to listen to the voices of their constituents and vote for real patients' rights," AMA Board Chair Dr. Ted Lewers said. The AMA's lobbying was criticized by the American Association of Health Plans, whose vice president Mark Merritt labeled the AMA a "special interest group trying to bully votes out of people" (Pallarito, 8/16).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.