The American Cancer Society is one of many advocates taking a position on the so-called “Patients Bill of Rights” before Congress. Meg Neary is spokeswoman for the Iowa Branch of the American Cancer Society, and says they favor the bill.She says it would cover clinical trials, offer greater access to specialists, guarantee continuity of care, and provide a grievance and appeals process. The bill would lay out what kinds of care health insurance must cover. That would include routine health care they pay for now, but some terminal cancer patients aren’t helped by regular treatments. Clinical trials offer hope, but aren’t covered under current plans. Neary says sometimes those trials are the only hope for terminal patients.A lot of treatment and drugs have been discovered by clinical trials, but a lot of insurers now don’t cover the costly blood work and expenses of those trials. The “McCain Kennedy Edwards Bipartisan Patient Protection Act of 2001” is considered more likely to pass Congress now that Democrats control the Senate. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he supports the bill, and the Cancer Society is lobbying Republican Senator Chuck Grassley to support it. 4th-district Congressman Greg Ganske, a doctor, is credited with helping write the bill.
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