Archive for Thursday, February 1, 2001

Bush freezes new Medicare regulations

February 1, 2001

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— Last-minute Clinton administration regulations giving Medicaid patients a host of new rights are on hold and under review by the Bush administration, which will be forced to step quickly into the debate over patients' rights.

The new administration issued a blanket order on President Bush's first day in office freezing all pending regulations until they can be reviewed. Many of them, including most of the 20 or so regulations now in limbo at the Department of Health and Human Services, involve routine matters of government.

But the new Medicaid rules strike at an ongoing political debate over how much power patients should have in dealing with their insurance companies.

Insurance companies, governors and Medicaid directors are gearing up to lobby the Bush administration for changes.

"We are going to push very hard with the agency to make this better," said Susan Pisano of the American Association of Health Plans, which represents health maintenance organizations and other managed care plans.

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