Kyl, McConnell Introduce Bill To Put Patients First

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) today introduced legislation to prohibit the federal government from denying or delaying health-care treatment to a patient based on cost.

The Preserving Access to Targeted, Individualized, and Effective New Treatments and Services (PATIENTS) Act of 2009 would bar the federal government from using “comparative effectiveness research” – a common tool used by socialized health-care systems to dictate treatment based on cost rather than effectiveness – to deny coverage of a health-care treatment or micromanage the practice of medicine.

“Americans don’t want Washington-run insurance companies any more than they want Washington-run car companies,” said Kyl. “We should stick to a basic principle that all Americans should be able to choose the doctor, hospital, and health plan of their choice. No Washington bureaucrat should interfere with that right, or substitute the government’s judgment for that of a physician.”

“We all agree we need health care reform, but Americans want their doctors – not government bureaucrats – to continue to help them make their health care decisions,” said McConnell. “Doctors should have as much good information as possible when treating their patients, but the government shouldn’t use this information to deny access to treatment or procedures that patients and doctors choose to pursue.”

The economic stimulus bill, which the President signed into law earlier this year, provided $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research, but did not include the necessary safeguards to prevent the research from being used to ration health care.

The Acting National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director announced that the NIH may use the stimulus money to compare the cost of health-care treatments “to guide future policies that support the allocation of health resources for the treatment of acute and chronic diseases.”

U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) are co-sponsors of the bill.