Congress fails to create patients’ bill of rights

Congress failed to pass new laws to relieve frustrations with health plans despite growing sentiment from American consumers.

Democrats helped push President Clinton’s Patient Bill of Rights to the floor for debate, while the Republicans crafted and passed a counterproposal earlier this summer. The Senate could not reach a compromise on the rival versions of the bill, and neither party had the necessary votes to force the legislation to the floor for a vote.

As a result, no action was taken. The Health Benefits Coalition, a group of insurance companies and employers, know the victory is only temporary until the issue is likely reintroduced next session. The coalition argues that consumer protections will drive up insurance costs.