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Today's historic vote is a major victory for America's families. It is a victory for patients, for doctors, and for nurses. And it is a victory for anyone who has been denied care because an accountant, instead of a doctor, was making the medical decisions.

For two weeks, the Senate has debated this bill that has been five years in the making. It is a common-sense compromise that will return medical decisions to doctors and patients.

This Patients' Bill of Rights protects Americans with important guarantees.

It allows a parent to bring an injured child to the closest emergency room, without waiting for approval from the health plan.

It allows a patient who may have exhausted his or her treatments to get another chance by entering a clinical trial.

It allows women to get direct access to their Ob-Gyn care instead of being forced to seek approval from their health plan.

And it restores the doctor-patient relationship by enabling doctors and nurses to be the final word in medical care. Doctors and patients can go back to fighting illness, instead of fighting the insurance companies.

Finally, as we demand accountability from our students, our teachers and our classrooms, today the U.S. Senate has demanded accountability from our HMOs and insurance companies.

The American people asked for strong patient protections. Today, the Senate has answered. This legislation now goes to the House for its action. For the sake of millions of Americans, it is my sincerest hope that the House will do the right thing and pass this important legislation, and the President will do the right thing and sign it.