June 1998 Bulletin

Majority want provisions in Rep. Weldon bill

A survey of 1,005 adults nationwide found an overwhelming majority are in favor of the provisions in health care plans which are included in the Patient Choice and Access to Quality Health Care bill. More than 85 percent said they would be more likely to vote for their legislator, if he/she supported a bill that contained the these provisions.

Conducted for the Patient Access to Specialty Care Coalition, the survey never mentioned the legislation introduced by Rep. David Weldon (R-Fla.) in March. Instead, the survey asked for responses to options that might be included in a health plan. The results, announced at a press conference in Washington, D.C. on May 14, found more than 87 percent supported the proposal that all health plans must allow their patients the option of seeking treatment outside their HMO, with the HMO covering at least part of the cost.

A proposal that would require a complete list of benefits and costs offered by a health plan before he/she signs up for the plan was supported by 91 percent of the respondents. Sixty-seven percent supported prohibiting insurance companies from paying doctors more money for offering less treatment or refusing referrals.

More than 95 percent supported the proposal requiring any basic managed care plan to allow patients to see plan specialists when necessary. Similar support was reported for options giving the patient the right to a speedy appeal when a plan denies coverage for a benefit or service and a requirement that health care providers give their patients full information about their condition and treatment options. More than two-thirds said they would support the legislation, even if the proposals would cost an additional $17 a month or $200 a year.

The survey also found that 46 percent of the respondents believed the overall quality of health care in America over the last 10 years had deteriorated; 34 said it had improved; and 15 percent believed it had stayed the same.

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