|Debate Over Patients' Bill of Rights Costly|
|Topic||Government and the Economy|
|Key Words||Cost, Companies, Lobbying, Advertising|
There has been much public concern that health maintenance organizations deprive patients of the ability to challenge health care decisions. Business and insurance companies are concerned about the cost of potential lawsuits if patients are given more power. Congress considered a so-called Patients' Bill of Rights in 1998.
Insurance companies and other opponents of managed care reform spent $60-million on lobbying in the first half of 1998, about $112,000 per lawmaker. Those pressing for the "Patients' Bill of Rights", such as the American Medical Association, spent $14-million. Much was spent on high-priced lobbyists. In addition, $11-million was spent on advertising against the legislation, and more was spent on campaign contributions.
The chairman of one anti-regulation group stated that it was money well spent -- because the legislation did not pass. He said that the stakes are high and the industry would do the same in 1999 when the issue resurfaces.
(Updated January 1, 1999)
|Source||Associated Press, "Managed care opposed to tune of $60-million", St. Petersburg, November 28, 1998.|
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