Rep. Charles Norwood (R-Ga.), a dentist and architect of the patients bill of rights legislation, died today at his home in Augusta, Ga., after a battle with cancer and lung disease. The popular seven-term Republican was 65. Norwood earned a national reputation when he introduced the first comprehensive managed healthcare reform legislation in 1995, which passed the House in both 1999 and 2001. His so-called patients bill of rights became a primary issue in the 2000 presidential election. He reportedly reintroduced the bill two weeks ago, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Norwood, who served as a combat medic in Vietnam, also co-authored the Keep Our Promises to Military Retirees Act in 1999, which provided fully funded healthcare for life for the nations military retirees.
Congressman Charlie Norwood was a plain-spoken and passionate public servant, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. As a member of Congress, he did his best to serve his constituents, his conscience and his country. -- by Matthew DoBias