NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A Double Standard on Patients' Bill of Rights

August 27, 2001

Alert political observers have noted that the Patients' Bill of Rights passed by the House exempts the nine million federal workers, retirees and dependents covered by the federal health plan -- including congressional employees.

If Congress feels that private-sector workers should be free to sue their health plans, shouldn't that right be extended to federal workers as well, critics ask?

  • In fact, the politicians and many federal unions fear the new protections -- including the expanded right to sue -- would drive up federal health insurance costs.
  • "It could lead to higher premiums," warns George Gould, legislative political director for the National Association of Letter Carriers.
  • But critics point out that that is exactly what businesses fear about the bill.

Also, the House bill exempts the 41 million people enrolled in Medicaid and the more than 50 million more covered through Medicare and other federal programs from the potentially expensive new mandates and protections.

Source: Ira Carnahan, "Do As We Say...," Forbes, September 3, 2001.


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