Congress is considering legislation called the Patient Access to Responsible Care Act (PARCA, HR 1415, S 644). Of course, insurance companies are against any kind of freedom given to patients because they have two interests: the bottom-line report to their share holders and the major bonuses they get when profits go up.

Americans deserve more say in their health care, and decisions should be made by the patient at least as much or more than the insurance companies. Why should a patient be limited in whom they can see for their care? Don't they get any credit for an intelligent decision? PARCA would not mandate benefits or coverage. It would not force insurance companies to change whom they cover. It would make sure that plans explain rules in plain English and make sure that health-care coverage be provided without unreasonable delays or denials.PARCA is not a case of government intervention. It simply protects the individual from corporate bureaucrats who are trying to become pretty much what people rejected a few years ago when it turned aside socialized care offered by the Clinton administration. Current federal law has a loophole that exempts health plans that cover 125 million Americans from most state laws and regulations. If a health plan delays or denies care and someone is hurt or dies as a result, the plan cannot be sued for malpractice. Why should we give that kind of protection to an industry that is one of the most profitable? What other industry do we protect to that extent?

If Congress passes PARCA, health-care insurance for the average American would go up between $1 and $5. It is a small price to pay for freedom to choose doctors and hold health care plans accountable for decisions that adversely affect patients. If an insurance company refuses coverage, patients should be able to appeal that refusal, and the insurance companies should have to justify that refusal or pay the consequences. Our health may be on the line if this bill is defeated. You can count on the big business bureaucrats fighting this legislation with great power and money. Let's not let them control our lives.

Brian L. Homer

Salt Lake City