March 29, 2011

Republican Senators Reintroduce PATIENTS Act

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) were joined today by U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) to reintroduce legislation that would prohibit the federal government from denying or delaying health-care treatment to a patient based on cost.

The Preserving Access to Targeted, Individualized, and Effective New Treatments and Services (PATIENTS) Act of 2011would bar the federal government from using "comparative effectiveness research" - a common tool used by socialized health-care systems to dictate treatment based on cost rather than effectiveness - to deny or delay coverage of a health-care treatment or micromanage the practice of medicine.

"We should stick to a basic principle that all Americans should be able to choose the doctor, hospital, and health plan of their choice," said Kyl.  "No Washington bureaucrat should interfere with that right, or substitute the government's judgment for that of a physician."

"Doctors should have as much good information as possible when treating their patients, but the government shouldn't use this information to insert itself into the doctor-patient relationship," said McConnell.

"American families and their physicians should make decisions about medical treatments, not Washington bureaucrats," said Barrasso.  "This bill ensures Americans have access to the care they need, from the doctor they want."

"Accessing affordable, quality health care is the main challenge facing American patients.  However, we cannot fix this problem with a government agency that allows Washington bureaucrats to take the place of physicians," said Coburn.  "Instead, we have to reconnect consumer purchase with payment and work towards reforms that empower consumers, lower costs, and protect the doctor-patient relationship."

"Patients have a right to expect privacy and no government interference in a situation as critical as the diagnosis of their health," said Crapo.  "The PATIENTS Act protects the doctor-patient relationship on health care decisions, ensuring that patients, not Washington bureaucrats, can decide the best course for medical care and that research cannot be used to ration care."

"Medical decisions are best made between the patient and a doctor. With half a trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare in ObamaCare, we must have this bill to protect patients from the federal government's interference in the doctor patient relationship under the guise of cost control," said Roberts.  "Without this legislation access to quality care will become disastrous for all Americans."

President Obama's 2009 "stimulus" bill provided $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research, but did not include the necessary safeguards to prevent the research from being used to ration health care.  Under ObamaCare, an entire institute is created that is dedicated to CER.  Medicare and Medicaid can use that institute's research in determining which treatments they will cover.