Jeffords's QUEST Would Establish National Health Quality Council

Get your scorecard. There's another entry in the managed care legislative sweepstakes — the Health Care Quality, Education, Security and Trust Act or, inside the Beltway, QUEST. Introduced by Republican Sen. JimJeffords of Vermont, QUEST is scheduled for markup this month. The key element is QUEST's creation of a Health Quality Council that would issue comparative quality-of-care information about plans.

Unlike the Patient Access to Responsible Care Act, sponsored by Republican Rep. Charles Norwood of Georgia, QUEST won't subject HMOs to malpractice liability. Insiders say QUEST, cosponsored by Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, has a better chance for passage than PARCA or bills put in play by the Democrats (the Kennedy-Dingell proposal) and the Republican leadership (by Texas Sen. Phil Gramm).

Republicans may fear that QUEST's establishment of a quality council would add bureaucracy, and that President Clinton may get by executive fiat what he couldn't achieve through legislation with his failed health care proposal.

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