House Democrats, led by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), introduced a patients' bill of rights, based on legislation that passed the Senate in 2001, that would establish federal protection for enrollees harmed by their health plans, including a right to sue. The 2001 patients' rights legislation and subsequent similar efforts failed in Congress. The Dingell bill would require that enrollees be allowed to see doctors without prior approval; establish an independent, external review process; and allow enrollees to sue their health plans in state court for negligent medical decisions. A Supreme Court ruling last year on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act limited enrollees' right to sue their health plans in state courts. -- by Tony Fong
Patients' rights legislation re-emerges in Congress
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