PATIENTS RIGHTS: Hastert Pledges Vote by Next Fall
In a letter to House members yesterday, Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) pledged that a patients' bill of rights will "reach the floor before adjournment next fall," although he said he remains opposed to any provisions allowing patients to sue their health plans. Hastert is also "wary" of other proposals that could raise the cost of health insurance (AP/Nando Times, 1/21). "I have not been shy about advocating a process where patients receive care in hospital rooms -- not in courtrooms," he said. Other top House and Senate Republicans also oppose right-to-sue provisions, but are working with Democrats to develop a compromise. Senate Finance Committee Chair William Roth (R-DE) is working with Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D-NY) toward a bipartisan solution. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee Chair James Jeffords (R-VT) said yesterday that he will make patients' rights legislation a "top priority" for his committee (Heldman, Washington Times, 1/22).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.