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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 24, 1998
5:00 PM
CONTACT:  Families USA
Lorie Slass - 202-628-3030

Consumer Group Labels Health Care Announcement "Ballot Box Protections"
 
WASHINGTON - June 24 - Statement by Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA on today’s proposal by the Republican Working Group on Health Care Reform:

"Today’s announcement by Speaker Gingrich and his Working Group on Health Care Reform has the odor of an election year public relations stunt. With only a short time left this legislative session, and after a year of public debate about patient protections, the Gingrich Task Force offers us too little in proposal details and too much in extraneous provisions that will kill any chances of managed care reform this year.

"The unanswered questions about patient protection in this proposal are stunning. Today’s announcement will leave patients wondering, among other things, if their HMOs deny them the care they need, who can they appeal to, and how can they hold managed care plans accountable for their misdeeds.

"In trying to cure a problem, the last thing you want is a poison pill that will kill the patient. This proposal includes many recycled ideological programs that the Speaker and his colleagues have tried before. They do not have bipartisan or public support and are destined to ensure that no patient protection legislation passes this year.

"Rather than offering proposals with no details, let’s get the bills that have bipartisan support to the floor for debate and a vote. The Gingrich proposal is a ploy to enable some Members of Congress to claim they did something on managed care. In reality, the Gingrich proposal is about protecting members of Congress at the ballot box rather than truly protecting patients."

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