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California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

HEALTH CARE REFORM: Continued Editorial Interest

      Managed care reform remains a top issue for newspaper editorial boards:

  • Dallas Morning News: "Congress needs to keep in mind some key principles during this political showdown. Make it easy to administer. Give consumers a louder voice in their medical care. But above all, keep it affordable" (7/15).
  • Denver Post: "We think it better if Congress leaves to the states the issue of how to resolve patient complaints about service and the related issue of whether patients may sue HMOs directly. The experience of the states in these two areas may differ widely, and some latitude should be left so that solutions can be fashioned on a statewide, rather than national, basis" (7/15).
  • USA Today: This editorial makes a case for reforming the 1974 ERISA statute to make it easier for patients to sue their health plans. USA Today notes the opinion of one federal judge in a case involving a patient whose HMO denied coverage for care recommended by her doctor: "As the Corcoran judge put it, letting health plans off the litigation hook 'eliminates an important check on the thousands of medical decisions routinely made. With liability rules generally inapplicable, there is theoretically less deterrence of substandard medical decision making.' 'Bad medical judgments,' the judge continued, 'end up being cost-free to the plans'" (7/15).
  • In an Opposing View column on the USA Today editorial page, ERISA Industry Committee President Mark Ugoretz argues against giving patients the right to sue their health plans: "The American people do not want access to lawsuits -- they want access to health care. We can and should make whatever changes are necessary to ensure fair and more timely resolution of claims and appeals. Increased litigation is not a remedy. It is a prescription for higher costs, reduced coverage and increasing the ranks of the uninsured" (7/15).
This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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