It's hard to spin away a flip-flop when the headline screams
: "A 'flip-flop' on patients' right to sue?
On Oct. 17, 2000, in a presidential debate against Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Gov. George W. Bush of Texas promised a patients' bill of rights like the one in his state, including a right to sue managed-care companies for wrongfully refusing to cover needed treatment.
"If I'm the president . . . people will be able to take their HMO insurance company to court," Bush said. "That's what I've done in Texas and that's the kind of leadership style I'll bring to Washington."
Today, legislation for a federal patients' bill of rights is moribund in Congress. And the Bush administration's Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to block lawsuits under the very Texas law Bush touted in 2000.
A little history-- Bush took credit for that Texas law in his 2000 debate with Gore. This, despite the fact that Bush vetoed
it the first time it came across his desk. A couple of years later, faced with a veto proof majority, he let the bill become a law without his signature.
And now, after explicitly promising the same patient rights at the federal level, his Justice Department is trying to get the Supreme Court to kill the Texas law.