Patients' Rights

February 6, 1998 • Volume 8, Issue 5
Are stronger legal protections needed?
By Kenneth Jost

Introduction

r19980206cover.gif (Photo Credit: Photodisc)
(Photo Credit: Photodisc)

The continuing growth of managed-care health plans is provoking a powerful backlash. Many patients say managed care makes it harder simply to see a doctor, let alone get insurance coverage for needed treatment. Doctors are also chafing under restrictions that limit the way they treat patients. The managed-care industry insists, however, that it is improving the quality of health care and slowing the rise in costs. More than 30 states have passed laws strengthening patients' rights in dealing with insurers. Now Congress may consider imposing new regulations on managed-care companies. Patient and consumer groups are pushing for reforms this year, but insurers' and employers' groups warn that the result may be higher premiums and more uninsured workers.

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