T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E

Fact Sheet: Radio Address ( 11/4/00)

Help Site Map Text Only

|                                                                         |
|                    LIKE PROTECTING PATIENTS? RIGHTS                     |
|                                                                         |

Today, the President will urge all Americans to exercise their right to
vote to decide how best to maintain and build on the progress and
prosperity the nation has achieved.  He will emphasize that every vote
counts because next Tuesday?s election will help decide the future
direction of the nation. He will cite the bipartisan Norwood-Dingell
Patients? Bill of Rights as an example of what a difference elected leaders
can make.  Despite a bipartisan majority of support in the Congress, the
Republican Leadership has let another year go by without passing a
Patients? Bill of Rights, refusing to schedule a vote and thus effectively
killing this important legislation.  Today, the President will take
executive action to extend patient protections to 130 million Americans in
private health plans by directing the Secretary of Labor to release
regulations within the next two weeks that require health plans to provide
a fair and unbiased appeals process for patients when coverage has been
denied or delayed.

President will issue an Executive Memorandum to Labor Secretary Alexis
Herman directing the Department to release final appeals and consumer
information regulations within two weeks.  Under current law, health plans
making coverage decisions often do not have medical expertise to make such
decisions, and appeals of coverage decisions can take as long as 300 days.
Consequently, countless patients have been harmed by inappropriate delays
and denials of coverage.  This new regulation will establish a fair and
unbiased process for reviewing medical benefits claims, require timely
coverage and appeals decisions, and direct health plans to provide
meaningful information to patients advising them of their rights to the
appeals process.  It will apply to all private Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (ERISA) health plans sponsored by employers, which cover over
130 million working Americans and their families.

Clinton-Gore Administration has consistently promoted patient protections
for all Americans.  In 1993, the Administration proposed wide-ranging
consumer protections.  In 1996, as part of the historic Kennedy-Kassebaum
insurance reform law, the President enacted new executive authority for the
establishment of privacy protections for medical records.  Later that year,
he called for the establishment of the non-partisan Quality Commission,
co-chaired by Labor Secretary Herman and Health and Human Services
Secretary Donna Shalala, which released two seminal reports focusing on
patient protections and quality improvement.  In November 1997, the
President accepted the Commission's recommendation that all health plans
should provide strong patient protections and called on the Congress to
pass a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights.  Since that time, he
and Vice President Gore have been working in the Congress to form a
bipartisan majority in both Houses of Congress for the Norwood-Dingell
Patients? Bill of Rights.  In the face of Congressional inaction, the
President has extended many consumer protections through executive action
to the 85 million Americans who get their health care through federal plans
- from Medicare and Medicaid, to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan
(FEHBP), to the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration.
Today represents the latest Administrative action to expand patient

Today, the President will call on all Americans to fulfill their civic duty
and go to the polls on Election Day to make their voices heard.  On
Tuesday, Americans will cast their votes and decide who they believe will
represent their best interest and continue on the path of maintaining
fiscal discipline while investing in America?s priorities, such as:

? Ensuring a Strong, Enforceable Patients? Bill of Rights.  All Americans
in all health plans deserve to have the right to see a specialist, to go to
the nearest emergency room, insure continuity of care during a treatment,
and to hold health plans accountable for actions that have caused harm or
death.  However, the only way to insure that these protections are applied
throughout the nation to all plans is to pass meaningful consumer
protections, such as those included in the bipartisan Norwood-Dingell
Patients? Bill of Rights.

? Ensuring that All Americans Share in our Prosperity.  In this time of
unprecedented prosperity, America?s hard working families deserve targeted
tax cuts that reward retirement savings, expand college opportunity, and
help with child care and long-term care. This can be achieved while
maintaining our nation?s fiscal discipline, strengthening the solvency of
Social Security and Medicare, investing in other key priorities, and paying
off the debt by 2012.  A proposed $1 increase in the minimum wage would
return its real value to the level it was in 1982 and help more than 10
million workers make ends meet.  The bipartisan New Markets/Community
Renewal would spur business investment in our nation's economically
distressed urban and rural communities.

? Ensuring a First-Class Education for Our Children.  We need to invest
more and demand more in our public schools so that all children have a high
quality education, safe and modern school buildings, qualified teachers,
small classes, after-school and summer school opportunities, and greater
access to higher education.

? Providing a Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit and Other Key Health
Priorities.  Three out of five Medicare beneficiaries have inadequate or no
prescription drug coverage and need a voluntary Medicare prescription drug
benefit in the context of broader reform that extends the life of the Trust
Fund.  In addition, although the nation has made progress in expanding
insurance to 2.5 million children, we need to build on this success by
expanding coverage options to at least 5 million Americans, including
parents, 55- to 65-year-olds, employees of small business, and legal
immigrants. And finally, it is imperative that we provide for long-term
care assistance for Americans of all ages.

? Protecting All Americans and Their Communities.  On Tuesday Americans
will decide whether we will continue on the path of ensuring equal
treatment and protections for all Americans.  Exercising the right to vote
on Election Day is critical to providing crime-free streets, global
leadership and security, a clean environment, fairness for immigrants,
equal pay, and protections against hate crimes.


President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House
White House for Kids | White House History
White House Tours | Help | Text Only

Privacy Statement