PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: Ashcroft Reconsidering Opposition
Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) is "having second thoughts about his opposition" to the Norwood-Dingell patients' bill of rights, according to the Kansas City Star (Murphy, Kansas City Star, 9/30). CongressDaily/A.M. reports that Ashcroft, "facing a tough re-election fight" against Gov. Mel Carnahan (D), said "he is just listening to voters" on the issue, although his "adversaries say he wants to change a vote that is costing him politically." Along with 50 other Republican senators, Ashcroft in June voted against the bipartisan House bill, which would give consumers the right to sue their HMOs. The Senate then passed a "pared-down" version of the bill, which has met with opposition from the AMA, consumer groups and Democrats. Ashcroft said this week that "he had met with the lead House sponsor of the bill" to discuss a compromise, but not because of pressure from the AMA or Carnahan ads saying his vote on the House bill "killed a 'real' patients' bill of rights" (CongressDaily/A.M., 10/2). The Kansas City Star called the AMA "cautiously optimistic" about Ashcroft's "change of heart," though Jim Jordan of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said, "He will still be held accountable for his previous record, and I think voters understand and are quite suspicious of election eve turnarounds" (Kansas City Star, 9/30).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.