RESCUE HEALTH CARE LOBBYING DAY
FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2000
We urge those of you who can't be with us in Washington for Lobbying
support our efforts by contacting your own senators and representatives by
telephone and/or snail mail asking them to bring their influence to bear on
the members of the Congressional Conference presently trying to produce a
unified Patients' Rights Bill. We are targeting one issue, - that all
persons have the right to sue providers and insurers for malpractice.
RESCUE HEALTH CARE DAY - APRIL 1, 2000
March 31, 2000: To our elected Senators and Representatives:
We, as members of the Greater Washington Coalition of Mental Health
Professionals and Consumers, together with hundreds of other health
professional and advocacy groups participating in Rescue Health Care Day,
support a Patients Rights Bill which includes a strong ‘RIGHT TO SUE’
component. We ask you to persuade the House-Senate Conference Committee to
report out a bill which ensures Health Plan Legal Accountability. We ask
to urge the Conferees to:
• Adopt the House- passed accountability provision
as contained in the
Norwood-Dingell bill, H.R. 2990. This provision affords injured patients a
right of recourse, while protecting employers from inappropriate actions.
closes the ERISA loophole which at present removes an important incentive to
provide high quality health care by allowing MCO’s to avoid accountability
for their negligence. The courts alone cannot fix the ERISA loophole. They
have been calling on Congress to act since 1992.
- According to CBO, the Norwood-Dingell provision will increase
insurance premiums by only 1% (CBO, 2-19-00).
- 70% of the American public supports the right to sue. (Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health, 2/00).
• Broaden the definition of “substantial
harm” to include “mental or
cognitive” injury A “substantial harm” standard that requires only
“physical” injury bars from recourse patients with mental health diagnoses.
Compromise is possible to protect employers from frivolous claims, but
compromise should not be reached at patient expense.
• Remove the cap on non-economic damages.
Under a cap children and
stay-at-home parents, who have no or very low economic damages, may not be
afforded adequate relief for potentially devastating injuries.
Thank you for your consideration.
IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO JOIN US, PLEASE CALL, WRITE OR FAX your Senators
Representatives (we’re told that e-mail is not effective), using the
points in our position paper. Do this before March 31st. Call the U.S.
Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to find out the names of your Senators
and Representatives, their office addresses, fax and phone numbers.
To a Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
To a Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
! TOGETHER WE CAN WIN !