Business, Labor Split On New Health Care Bill

Legislation introduced Mar. 31 by the Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate, the Patient Bill of Rights Act of 1998, is drawing predictable reaction from business and labor. Business doesnt like it; labor does.

The measure, says the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), "goes beyond" an earlier patient bill of rights extended to federal employees by President Clinton as well as the Patient Access to Responsible Care Act (PARCA) proposed in Congress. Both call for a variety of mandates on health-insurance plans. In addition, warns NFIB, the Mar. 31 legislation "exposes employers to medical malpractice liability issues." Similarly, the National Assn. of Manufacturers calls the bill "an incremental step toward nationalized health care." and "merely a partial repackaging of the failed Clinton health-care plan." The AFL-CIO, however, says the legislation "ensures that every American family has the quality health care they deserve."

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