The Federation of Physicians and Dentists
applauded the United States House of
Representatives for passing the Campbell-Conyers
Bill, (HR 1304) by a vote of 276 to 136. It called
upon the Senate leadership to schedule a vote on
this pivotal legislation immediately after its July 4th
HR 1304, "The Quality Health Care Coalition Act"
would enable independent health professionals to
engage in collective bargaining with health
insurers. It was sponsored by Rep. Tom Campbell
(R-Ca) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi), and was
adopted by a comfortable bi-partisan majority.
"People want their doctors to re-establish their
ability to provide the best health care available,"
said Jack Seddon, FPD Executive Director. "This vote
sends a clear message to health insurers and to
those who tried to do their bidding by delaying the
vote. Patients know they have rights and they trust
their physicians to exercise them on their behalf."
FPD lead a national lobbying effort to force a vote
on the bill, over the delaying tactics of the House
GOP leadership which was lobbied hard by health
insurers opposed to the measure.
The House recessed when the final tally had been
recorded -- after 2 a.m. -- with Representatives
Campbell and Conyers praising their colleagues
(and each other) for having demonstrated
leadership through passage of this bill without
encumbering amendments. Among those rejected
amendments was a "right to work" clause that
would have gutted the intent of the bill to level the
playing field when doctors and insurers negotiate.
"Doctors must not be forced to sign
take-it-or-leave-it contracts," said Michael Connair,
MD, FPD Vice President. "As a practicing orthopedic
surgeon in Connecticut, I have been fighting health
insurers' ability to dictate my terms of employment.
Passage of this bill will help me overcome
unnecessary hassles from insurance company
clerks who don't understand medicine."
"If a Patient's Bill of Rights is passed,
Campbell-Conyers will serve as an ongoing
mechanism to enforce patient rights, to give
physicians the power to help prevent HMOs from
inventing new ways to limit care and compromise
quality and access. The Patient's Bill of Rights and
the Campbell-Conyers Bill complement each other,
but are not substitutes for each other," said Dr.
FPD Regional Coordinator Robert B. Sklaroff, MD, a
Philadelphia Oncologist-Hematologist, said, "I am
proud of the House for listening to and acting upon
the complaints of millions of patients and doctors.
This bill establishes a workable mechanism to
restructure the health care delivery system and
balance the interests of patients, doctors and
The Federation of Physicians and Dentists,
headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, is affiliated
with the National Union of Hospitals and Health
Care Employees (NUHHCE, AFSCME), and
represents thousands of non-salaried and salaried
physicians and other health care professionals
throughout the country.