White House Unveils Patients' Bill Of Rights

As part of the health-care reform package, the President recently announced a Patients’ Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights will take effect later this summer. Some of the key provisions of the new rules include:
  • Children can’t be denied health insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions
  • No lifetime limit on insurance coverage
  • Encouragement of a patient’s choice of doctors; and
  • Removal of insurance company barriers to emergency care

The goal of the Patients’ Bill of Rights is to create better medical outcomes for patients. Insurance companies should no longer be allowed to interfere with patients’ efforts to obtain reasonable medical care.

It may take some time to see whether these changes result in better medical care. The rules will go into effect in late September, and some of them will take years to fully implement. The goal of the Bill of Rights, like the goal of the health-care reform law, is to provide better and more affordable health care.

Of course, the care that individual patients get from their doctors is still the most important determinant of the outcome of health-care reform. We encourage patients to remain vigilant about the quality of care they are receiving from their physicians, and to report any perceived medical malpractice.

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