Times Profiles Patients’ Rights Bill Sponsor Norwood
The Los Angeles Times today profiles Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.), a former dentist who has made patients' rights his "signature issue" in Congress, and who will likely have a "pivotal" role in "intense negotiations" with the White House on the issue "in the coming days -- if not weeks." A four-term House member, Norwood has "championed" patients' rights legislation during the past five years, "motivated largely by his own frustrations" in dealing with managed care as a dentist. "I could see very clearly that (the insurers) were trying to have me treat the patient as inexpensively as possible" rather than provide the best care, Norwood said. In response, Norwood has co-sponsored a patients' rights bill (HR 2563) with Reps. Greg Ganske (R-Iowa) and John Dingell (D-Mich.). However, many Republicans, including President Bush, oppose the legislation, which "poses a difficult dilemma for Norwood, a staunchly loyal Republican." The Times reports that Norwood "faces a difficult balancing act of advancing his cause without hurting his party." Still, according to the Times, Norwood's "conservative credentials" and "credibility" with patients' rights supporters "make him well-positioned to broker a deal" with Bush on the issue. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), who also backs Ganske-Dingell-Norwood, said, "If Charlie tells me this is a good compromise that has what we need, then chances are that's the way it's going to be." Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who pushed a similar bill through the Senate in June, added, "My preference would be not to have any more compromises. But obviously, if Dr. Norwood ... feels that some of these proposals are acceptable, I would certainly entertain them" (Miller, Los Angeles Times, 7/27).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.