WASHINGTON--Despite increasing complaints from physicians and
patients, don't look for Congress to take any action in 1996 to
remedy the problems that have evolved with the growth of managed
care, a key Senate aide said at the national meeting of the Association
of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC).
"I don't think we will see a massive regulation bill this
year for managed care," said Mark H. Smith, legislative assistant
to Sen Connie Mack (R-Fla). "There is a very keen awareness
that something needs to happen. But if the Democrats add managed
care to the Kassebaum-Kennedy health care bill, we will go another
year without health reform."
However, Mr. Smith added: "Stay tuned." If the Republicans
win control of Congress again in November, he predicted there
will be a growing movement to address problems arising from the
limits placed on patients' access to physicians and therapies.
"The members of Congress hear a lot about managed care,"
Mr. Smith made his remarks at an ACCC breakfast meeting, where
he and Rep. David L. Hobson (R-Ohio) gave their assessments of
medical and health issues pending in Congress.
'Congress Has Been Generous'
Rep. Hobson, who serves on both the House Appropriations and Budget
committees, noted that Congress had been generous in appropriating
research funds for fiscal 1996, with the National Institutes of
Health receiving $11.9 billion.
"That's $174 million more than the President's request and
$624 million more than in 1995. The National Cancer Institute's
funding is $2.2 billion, which is $31 million more than the President's
budget request and $114 million more than last year," Rep.
Hobson said. "Clearly there is a strong emphasis on the benefits
that research brings to America."