January 14, 1998

Health Care that Works for All Americans

To give American families the security they need to thrive, we need national consumer rights that say to every American: You have a right to know that you are receiving the best care, not the cheapest care; you have the right to choose the right doctor for the right type of care; the right to medical services in an emergency, wherever and whenever the need arises; the right to know your medical records are confidential and only used for legitimate purposes; and you have the right to express your concerns about the quality of care your receive, and to take action when that care is inadequate.

President Bill Clinton
January 14, 1998

Today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore, along with Democratic Leaders Senator Daschle and Representative Gephardt, came together to call for legislation proposing national health care consumer protections for all Americans.

Patients' Bill of Rights. The nation's health care system is undergoing significant change. Many Americans worry that these changes may reduce their health care options and lower the standards of care. A Patients, Bill of Rights should give Americans much needed protections, including:

Guaranteed Access To Needed Health Care Providers to ensure that patients are provided appropriate high quality care.

Access to Emergency Services when and where the need arises.

Confidentiality of Medical Records to ensure that individually identifiable medical information is not disseminated and to provide consumers the right to access and amend their own medical records.

Grievance and Appeals Processes for consumers to resolve their differences with their health plans and health care providers.

Health Care for the 21st Century. The Health Care Bill of Rights is an important part of President Clinton's plan to ensure affordable, accessible health care to all Americans. This initiative builds on the successes of President Clinton's other health care achievements, including:

Protected Medicare -- protected, modernized and extended the Medicare trust fund -- giving beneficiaries more choice and new preventive benefits, while extending the life of the Trust Fund until at least 2010;

Enacted Single Largest Investment in Health Care for Children since 1965 -- the $24 billion Children's Health Care Initiative will provide health care coverage for up to five million children;

Passed Meaningful Health Insurance Reform -- signed the Kassebaum/Kennedy Health Care Bill which limits exclusions for pre-existing conditions, makes coverage portable -- helping individuals keep their health care coverage when they change jobs;

Raised Immunization Rates to All Time High -- 90% of toddlers in 1996 received the most critical doses of each of the routinely recommended vaccines --surpassing the President's 1993 goal.

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