HMO OVERSIGHT: L. A. Times Urges Governor To Sign Rosenthal Bill
"[N]o one in his right mind would copy California's ineffective and peculiar way of regulating HMOs," an editorial in today's Los Angeles Times argues. The editorial says Gov. Pete Wilson should sign legislation introduced by state Sen. Herschel Rosenthal (D-Los Angeles) "that would create a new Board of Managed Health Care." The bill is likely to pass the state Senate today, what the Times says would be "the first critical move in a needed overhaul." That bill "rightly places the new agency in the Department of State and Consumer Services, to consolidate health care oversight in a single place (Consumer Services already oversees doctors and nurses) and to utilize an agency skilled in patient protection," the Times contends. While other states regulate HMOs through departments with health care expertise, in California, the Department of Corporations supervises HMOs although its specialty is in financial lending and investments. The editorial quotes state Auditor Kurt Sjoberg, who said "the Department of Corporations has neither 'broad expertise in health care issues nor the insight necessary for regulating health plans.'" The bill is expected to encounter resistance from the governor, because he believes "managed care is a business." The Times notes, however, "it's not HMO finances that need better oversight," and argues instead that California needs improved "patient protection" (8/19). Click here for earlier CHL coverage of HMO regulation.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.