Focus Point - Patients' Bill of Rights

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. What timing. The senate has started debating competing versions of managed care reform - a.k.a. the Patients' Bill of Rights - an issue that has already been decided in the courts and for which public support is dwindling.

The main point of the bill is whether or not people can sue their HMOs - but the Supreme Court has already said they can. In fact, HMOs are being sued left and right.

A Kaiser family foundation survey reports when people found out the bill could mean some companies would drop their health plans, support dropped from 85 to 41 percent.

The fact is, market forces made HMOs change their ways, and the public responded. Congress is trying to fix a problem that doesn't need fixing instead of doing something constructive, like fixing the disconnect between patients and the real cost of their treatment decisions, or giving them more control over their health care through some form of medical savings account, the congress is fighting yesterday's war.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, the high cost of gasoline.