PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: Clinton Administration May Back House Bill
President Clinton will "probably support" a managed care reform bill being drafted by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), according to the administration's domestic policy director Bruce Reed. CongressDaily/A.M. reports that Reed said "an official endorsement would not occur until a final bill is produced," but that "the White House is cooperating with Dingell in crafting the legislation." Dingell is the ranking Democrat on the House Commerce Committee (2/24). In the Senate, Labor and Human Resources Committee Chair Jim Jeffords (R-VT) "will introduce his much anticipated managed care quality bill 'within the next two weeks.'" Speaking yesterday to the American Association of Health Plans, Jeffords said he "plans to move both [his bill] and a medical records confidentiality bill ... through his committee by the end of April." CongressDaily reports that Jeffords' three-part bill would develop better health care quality standards, ensure consumer protections and require health plans to provide more information to enrollees (2/23).
GOP Goes To Task
Separately, CongressDaily/A.M. reports that the Republicans' Working Group on Health Care Quality "is expected to meet this week for the first time." The GOP task force will be looking at "ways to improve the quality of health care." The group is led by House Chief Deputy Majority Whip Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and will include "11 members of Congress from key health and business-related committees." Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), sponsor of the Patient Access to Responsible Care Act, has agreed to serve on the panel "provided it will not be 'a way to derail or water down' proposals to improve managed care" (CongressDaily/A.M., 2/24).