Action on Health Care in 2002?

By Guglielmo, Wayne J. | Medical Economics, January 25, 2002 | Go to article overview

Action on Health Care in 2002?


Guglielmo, Wayne J., Medical Economics


Medical Economics

The wars, foreign and domestic, continue to preoccupy Washington, but issues like patients' rights, Medicare hassles, and the uninsured won't go away.

No one knows what last year's Washington health care agenda might have looked like had the events of Sept. 11 and its aftermath not taken place.

Perhaps 2001 would have been the year, finally, for an acceptable patients' bill of rights, including at least an attenuated right to sue health plans. Perhaps doctors struggling through the thicket of Medicare red tape would have been granted some long-sought regulatory relief. Or perhaps, despite budget woes, a potentially costly issue like expanded medical coverage for the uninsured might have gained some traction among lawmakers willing to split the difference between Democratic and Republican approaches.

Perhaps. But Sept. 11 did take place, of course. And that fact not only radically altered last year's health care agenda-redirecting lawmakers' attention to matters of war both foreign and domestic-but could very well do the same this year.

"If the war goes on for a while, its needs will dominate," says Harvard health care pollster and political analyst Robert Blendon. Certainly, a deep recession could alter the picture somewhat, he acknowledges, giving prominence to issues like the uninsured. But short of that, it's the war, stupid.

Most groups previously focused on health care won't let mere Congressional inattention stop them from pursuing a range of issues, though. After all, priorities can turn on a dime in Washington. And, in any case, just because health care isn't grabbing the headlines doesn't mean it's completely out of the legislative picture.

With that in mind, we look at the issues left over from 2001 and assess which are most likely to survive our current preoccupations.

Patients' rights redux: Is fatigue setting in?

The tortuous road to a patients' bill of rights looked like it was coming to an end last summer, at least in Congress.

In late June, a bill sponsored by Arizona's John McCain and Massachusetts' Edward Kennedy, among others, passed the Democrat-led Senate by a vote of 59 to 36. Backed by the AMA and a host of other medical organizations, the bipartisan bill granted patients wide-ranging rights in their dealings with health plans, including the right to sue in state or federal court. On the House side, similar legislation sponsored by GOP Rep. Greg Ganske of Iowa looked like it might carry the day as well.

But support in both houses didn't guarantee a presidential signature-something co-sponsor Charlie Norwood (R-GA) knew full well. On Aug. 1, a day before debate on the House bill was to begin, Norwood met with President Bush and worked out an amendment to his own legislation. Essentially, the amendment scaled back liability provisions, limited federal remedies, and imposed caps. The bill as altered passed the House the next day by a 23-vote margin.

With two competing versions of patient protection, the next step would have been to reconcile House and Senate differences in conference committee. Then Sept. 11 occurred, and all bets were off. "The only way a reconciled bill would happen is if the people who wanted a bigger bill just gave in and agreed to the president's more limited bill," said Harvard's Blendon in November. "The president has no need to even look at this thing."

The prospect for legislation this session depends on the war, of course, but also on the ability of backers like McCain, Kennedy, the AMA, and consumer groups to rally public support for a stronger measure. But is the public still interested, even assuming terrorism concerns abate? Some people are clearly suffering from patient-protection fatigue after seven years of dead-end debates.

Others think health plans have already come a long way, at least in the areas of access and choice. "Right now Congress isn't getting pressure to pass a bill of rights," says Rosi Sweeney, vice president for socioeconomics and policy analysis at the American Academy of Family Physicians. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Action on Health Care in 2002?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.