- June 18 - Despite overwhelming public support, the
Republican Leadership may again bow to big-business and industry pressure by killing
legislation that would protect millions of Americans from managed care abuses, according
to the national consumer group Families USA.
"Here are two issues that the American public has said time and again that they want
resolved - tobacco use by kids and a patients' bill of rights," said Ron Pollack,
executive director of Families USA. "In the face of such public support, the
tobacco industry and the insurance companies have aggressively lobbied Congress, spending
millions on advertising and threatening not to contribute to campaign coffers in the
"On tobacco, it seems that the Republican Leadership listened to the tobacco
companies rather than the American people. I hope with patient protections, the
American people, not the managed care companies, will win out," added Pollack.
Republican and Democratic pollsters have found strong public support for consumer
protection legislation and a majority of members in the House have signed on to at least
one of the comprehensive consumer protection bills pending in Congress. Despite the
clear majority, the Republican leadership has yet to put patient protections on the
According to Pollack, "The insurance and managed care industries have put their
considerable forces to bear to pressure Members of Congress into killing patient
protection legislation. They have been so effective that Speaker Newt Gingrich will
not allow legislation to even be debated on the floor, despite bipartisan support for
"With less than 50 days left on the legislative calendar, it is unclear if patient
protections will even make it to the floor for debate," added Pollack.
"And it is quite possible that even if the legislation makes it to the floor,
the Republican Leadership may cut the heart out of the bill and create legislation that
offers no true patient protections. In either case, the Congress will have again
yielded to the considerable financial and lobbying pressure of big business, rather than
the will of the American people."
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is
non-profit and non-partisan and advocates for high-quality health and
long-term care for all Americans.
Families USA Foundation
1334 G Street, NW - Third Floor
Washington, DC 20005