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," he commented.
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."