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Feb 06, 2001

Norwood-Dingell Compromise Measure Step Forward For Patients;

But Still Cause For Some Concern
The Foundation For Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today that the compromise HMO patients' rights measure backed today by US Senator John McCain, which has enough votes to reach President Bush's desk, will help HMO patients have greater leverage with their HMOs. FTCR cautioned, however, that the bill has troubling provisions, such as a $5 million cap on punitive damages.

"The compromise measure at least allows for patients with employer-paid health care in private industry to collect lost wages, compensation for their pain and some punitive damages, which they are unable to recover today," said Jamie Court, executive director of FTCR and author of Making A Killing: HMOs and The Threat To Your Health. "It's troubling, however, that HMOs would still be the only industry in America with a federally imposed cap on punitive damages that can be recovered against them for malice. This trillion dollar industry should be fully liable for its acts. This measure is a step forward for patients, but it only provides one step out of the open grave patients find themselves in today when they have a serious gripe with their HMO."

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