Patients’ Bill of Rights Good News Either Way

September 1, 2001

With House passage of the Ganske bill (H.R. 526, introduced by Rep. Greg Ganske, R-IA), it is now certain that there will

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 emergesfrom Congress—that is, if one emerges. 

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

The Norwood provision differs from the lawsuit provision in aSenate bill, which Senate Democrats are insisting on retaining in anymanaged-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, restrictingits comments to provisions that specifically affect cancer care. 

To the extentthat a final bill—again, if there is a final bill—will contain a provisionrequiring payment of routine patient care costs in clinical trials (whetherfederally or privately funded), ASCO couldn’t be happier.