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NEWS RELEASE
Jul 25, 2001

Bush Campaign Position Incompatible With His HMO Reform Policy

Bush Stand On National HMO Reform Would Obliterate Texas HMO Law;
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) wrote President Bush today challenging him to change his position on federal HMO reform because his policy stand would obliterate Texas HMO reform laws that Bush said, in his campaign for his office, were a model for the nation.

When running for president, Bush made the following claims: "If I'm the president, we're going to have emergency room care, we're going have gag orders, we're going to have direct access to OB/GYN. People will be able to take their HMO insurance company to court. That's what I've done in Texas and that's the kind of leadership style I'll bring to Washington….I do support a national patient's bill of rights. As a matter of fact, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to do just that in the State of Texas to get a patient's bill of rights through."

"Your current position opposed to the Ganske-Dingell-Norwood legislation, H.R. 2563, to be voted on in the House of Representatives this week endangers the future of the Texas patients' bill of rights that you so proudly championed in the presidential campaign," wrote FTCR's executive director Jamie Court. "The far weaker federal legislation that you support, H.R. 2315, the Fletcher bill, would obliterate the current right of Texas patients to recover unlimited compensatory damages against their HMO for their economic and non-economic (pain and suffering) injuries. The only cap on damages under the Texas law currently limits punitive damages (meant to punish, not to compensate) to three times economic damages or $750,000. The Fletcher bill, by contrast, limits compensatory damages and would usurp the current state law right of Texas patients to hold HMOs fully accountable for their losses when the HMO interferes with the quality of their health care."

The letter continued, "Your current actions as president should reflect your campaign positions or you must acknowledge to the American people that you have changed your stand and the reasons why. To continue your present course of supporting policy that undermines the laws of the state of Texas, which you claimed to be a national model, is duplicity incompatible with the moral platform of your campaign for office. A clarification of your position or policy change is in order."

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