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Patients’ Bill of Rights Good News Either Way

Patients’ Bill of Rights Good News Either Way

With House passage of the Ganske bill (H.R. 526, introduced by Rep. Greg Ganske, R-IA), it is now certain that there will be a strong clinical trials provision in any managed-care reform bill that emerges from Congress—that is, if one emerges. 

When the House passed the Ganske bill in early August, it added an amendment that eliminated provisions on the filing of lawsuits and substituted provisions developed by Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) and President George W. Bush. The Norwood amendment limits the kinds of lawsuits patients can file in state court and caps the damages they can receive from those suits. 

The Norwood provision differs from the lawsuit provision in a Senate bill, which Senate Democrats are insisting on retaining in any managed-care bill passed by a House-Senate conference committee. 

Julie Taylor, deputy director of public policy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), said that ASCO has not taken a position on the lawsuit provisions, restricting its comments to provisions that specifically affect cancer care. 

To the extent that a final bill—again, if there is a final bill—will contain a provision requiring payment of routine patient care costs in clinical trials (whether federally or privately funded), ASCO couldn’t be happier.

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