WASHINGTON (AP) -- The patients' rights legislation favored by President Bush supports insurance companies at the expense of ordinary Americans, a Democratic congressman from Texas said Saturday, touting the benefits of a rival plan coming up for debate in the House.
"When you are flat on your back and fighting for your life, you and your doctor should not have to fight your insurance company," Rep. Jim Turner said in his party's weekly radio address.
House moderates from both parties have introduced a patients' rights bill that mirrors one passed by the Senate. Both promise millions of Americans new rights to medical care and the ability to sue their HMOs and other health plans.
However, the White House and many Republicans say those bills would lead to a flood of lawsuits against insurance companies and health care groups. Bush favors a bill sponsored by Rep. Ernest Fletcher, R-Ky.
"The insurance companies may like the Fletcher bill, but doctors and patients don't," Turner said, noting that the legislation doesn't guarantee patients the right to choose their own doctor or access to experimental treatments for many serious diseases.
"Managed care companies stand as the only business organizations in America that are not held accountable for their wrongful and negligent acts," Turner said. "This must change."
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