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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 29, 2001
Statement by the President
I am pleased that the Patients Bill of Rights adopted in the Senate today more closely reflects my principles than did the original McCain-Kennedy-Edwards bill. I appreciate the good faith efforts of those who worked to improve the bill by narrowing some loopholes and giving greater deference to state patient protections.
The Senate failed, however, to address the danger that excessive, unlimited litigation in state courts would drive up premium costs and cause many American families to lose their health insurance. I could not in good conscience sign this bill because it puts the interests of trial lawyers before the interest of patients.
I will continue to work with the House to pass a strong Patients Bill of Rights, like Fletcher-Peterson-Johnson, that provides patients with strong protections, holds HMOs accountable, but discourages runaway litigation costs. I urge the House to pass a meaningful and effective Patients Bill of Rights that meets my principles.