AETNA: Out of Line In Verdict Rebuttal?
Aetna U.S. Healthcare is under fire for criticizing the recent $120 million verdict against the HMO. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that Consumers for Quality Care "has demanded [that] Congress suspend contracts with" the insurer because of comments in a memorandum it sent to members of Congress and because of comments by CEO Richard Huber (Goldberg, 2/11). U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D) criticized the insurer in the Congressional Record, noting that Huber allegedly denounced the settlement as the work of a "not intelligent enough" jury. He called the letter a "temper tantrum," and questioned: "Is this really the kind of CEO we would want as head of the nation's largest health insurance company?" (Congressional Record, 2/10). CQC spokesperson Doug Heller said, "The CEO attacked the attorney, the widow of the victim, as well as the judge." Bobby Pena, a spokesperson for Aetna said "Huber's remarks were not intended to denigrate the widow in any way." He added, "(Huber) has stated that he regrets choosing the words he did." The Daily Bulletin reports that Huber allegedly said the verdict was "the result of 'an ambulance-chasing lawyer, a politically motivated judge and a weeping widow'" (2/11).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.