PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: Kennedy Predicts Action This Summer
Appearing Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) predicted that managed care reform legislation will be brought to the Senate floor next month. Kennedy said proponents of HMO reforms will be successful in getting a bill passed. "What we are trying to do is end the abuses in HMOs and managed care systems. Too often ... managed care means a mismanaged care. We want medical decisions decided by doctors and health professionals, and not by accountants for the health industry," he said. Kennedy also acknowledged that reform supporters will face tough opposition: "We know that at the outset that you're going to have the same kind of fight on this as we had with Big Tobacco. Make no mistake about it. The insurance industry will be out there and they'll be having the same kind of battle. ... Historically, when we have an increase in the minimum wage, they say you'll lose jobs and it will add to inflation; it doesn't. When you have family and medical leave, they say it will be costly. It hasn't. And when we have the patients' bill of rights, they'll have the same kind of accusations, and they're wrong" (6/21).
A Burning Issue
According to a new Pew Research Center survey, "more people named regulation of the managed health care industry as the most important [issue] to them personally and for the country" (Connolly/Broder/Neal, Washington Post, 6/21). When respondents were asked to rank a series of issues, "69% say the debate over HMO regulation is very important to the nation, 60% say it is very important personally" (Pew survey, 6/15). Click here to see the full survey.