It would not be hard to pass a patient rights bill both Democrats and Republicans could be happy with — but not if they can help it.

Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., has been named the patient rights conference chair. Nickles is the leading advocate of the Senate Republican patient rights bill and has historically taken a very conservative approach to patient rights — which includes his displeasure with the 68 House Republicans who joined the Democrats and pleased the Clinton administration by passing the Norwood-Dingell bill, a bipartisan patient rights compromise.

The patient rights House-Senate conference has been very heavily stacked with loyal Republicans — the Republicans can pretty much produce the hard-line Republican patient rights bill they want. Any conference agreement would then have to be passed by both houses (no certainty) and then sent on to President Clinton for his signature. Clinton has indicated no reluctance to veto any bill he does not believe goes far enough.

The conference began on Feb. 27 with the expectation that a bill will be produced in late March with floor votes in both houses before the April recess.

In the patient rights debate:

Look for a great deal of political maneuvering as each side claims its detailed approach to a patient rights bill is far better than the other party’s approach.

Look for Democrats to call Republicans friends of the HMO industry. Look for Republicans to call Democrats pawns of the trial lawyers because of the Democratic insistence that a patient have the right to sue his or her health plan before all appeals are exhausted.

Neither side is really trying to get a bill today — not as long as they both believe they have the high ground on the issue for November and they hope to have a better hand to play after the election. This debate is more about each side trying to define itself and its opponents for voters than it is about actually making real progress on the issue.

The only thing that can change the environment and make both sides compromise their differences will be the realization that voters want results now. That could happen if the presidential candidates, particularly the Republicans, begin to focus on patient rights, making it a high intensity issue. If patient rights issue gets to center stage, passing a bill may be hard to avoid.

But, we aren’t yet at the point where it’s imperative to pass a patient rights bill — voters aren’t demanding action this year. Look for a lot of political maneuvering leading up to a showdown in Congress this spring.

It is very possible that Nickles will force a very Republican patient rights bill out of the conference, one the Senate will likely pass and one the House may or may not pass. Those 68 House Republicans who voted with the Democrats on Norwood-Dingell will make or break any Republican strategy to pass a bill to their liking.

It’s at this time achievable to order rx drugs online plus countless people have taken advantage of it. Our online pharmacy is the great store for persons to get their medications.