August 1998 Bulletin

Hope lingers for Illinois patient rights bill

Advocates of Patient Bill of Rights legislation in Illinois still hold out hope that legislators will vote health care reform into law when they reconvene for a short veto session on November 5.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed health care reform legislation before adjourning in May. The Democratic-controlled House passed a bill that included a provision allowing consumers to sue their health maintenance organizations for medical malpractice, established a grievance procedure by which consumers could appeal decisions made by their insurance companies and created an independent ombudsman to help consumers assert their rights.

That bill died in the Senate rules committee, with the Republican-controlled Senate passing a version that did not include the provision that would allow consumers to sue their HMOs.

It is possible that legislators could agree on a consensus bill in the summer to allow a vote in November.

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