Today Chairman Henry A. Waxman, Chairman Emeritus John D. Dingell, and Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., applauded the unveiling of regulations implementing a new set of Patient's Bill of Rights protections included in the Affordable Care Act.
Among its protections, the new rules will keep insurance companies from denying coverage or limiting benefits for children with pre-existing conditions, ban arbitrary rescissions of insurance coverage, prohibit insurance plans from placing lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on coverage, and give patients a greater ability to direct their care by choosing appropriate physician gatekeepers.
"This is a historic day and an important step forward in implementing the patient protections that were key components of the health care reform enacted this year," said Chairman Waxman. "In the 1990s, Chairman Dingell led the charge to enact a patient's bill of rights. Despite our efforts, we were unable to make it a reality then, but those efforts paved the way for the fundamental consumer protections being put in place today."
"As one of the original authors of a Patient's Bill of Rights, I am encouraged by the steps taken by the Administration today," said Rep. Dingell, Chairman Emeritus. "Because of the work of President Obama and HHS Secretary Sebelius, we've gone even further than we could have dreamed a decade ago. Millions of Americans will now receive the timely medical care they need and deserve without fear of insurance company rascality. We are putting control of care back in the hands of the people, protecting their right to choose their care options, and the doctors they know and trust."
"The Patient's Bill of Rights was both the impetus and heart of health care reform, and I am proud to see us moving toward implementing these consumer protections," said Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health. "The provisions in this new Patient's Bill of Rights are truly historic and the most important changes include protecting patients' ability to choose their doctors, prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage and banning arbitrary rescissions. Everyday millions of Americans face difficult decisions about their own health or the health of a family member but these protections will give them greater freedom to focus on getting better rather than worrying about losing or being denied health care coverage."
In 1999, the House of Representatives passed a Patient's Bill of Rights co-authored by Rep. John D. Dingell. That bill would have given patients greater access to health care as well as increased consumer protections. A number of these protections plus new ones are included in the insurance reforms Congress passed and which were ultimately enacted earlier this year.