ELECTION ’98: Harman Airs Patients’ Rights Ad
U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D), a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, "has launched a new 30-second television commercial" focusing on patients' rights, the Sacramento Bee reports. The ad features Harman walking outside a Southern California medical clinic. She notes that her father built the medical practice, and says, "Then, machines didn't answer phones and only doctors and patients made medical decisions. It's an insult when women need permission to see their own gynecologist. And it's outrageous when people with chronic conditions need permission to see a specialist. As a mother of two school-aged kids, I want them treated by doctors who know them. As governor, I'll fight for a patient's right to choose their own doctor. HMOs must start putting people ahead of insurance company profits."
What It Means
An analysis of the ad notes that "[b]y taking on the managed care industry, Harman has picked a popular target, particularly for women voters she is trying to attract." However, the Bee notes that "state lawmakers and Gov. Pete Wilson recently resolved the issues mentioned in the ad," agreeing to allow managed care patients to go directly to OB/GYNs without referrals and to require managed care plans to "give standing referrals to specialists for patients with chronic ailments" (Smith, 5/15).