HMO REFORM: Ad Raising Controversy In Boxer-Fong Race
U.S. Senate candidate Matt Fong (R) yesterday said a California Democratic Party ad attacking his position on HMO reform is "outright false," and asked that the spot be removed from the airwaves. The ad, produced independently by the party to aid incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D) re-election, "claims Fong opposes a patient's right to sue [HMOs] for malpractice and would 'let HMOs off the hook.'" Fong said the ad mischaracterizes his position, in that he does support a patient's right to sue HMOs, though he would restrict plaintiffs from seeking "excessive judgements." Steve Schmidt, spokesperson for the Fong campaign, called the ad "preposterous" and "such an overreach that it is not believable." Fong portrayed the ad as yet another effort by Boxer to distort his record as a moderate. Fong said, "[T]o move me out of the center, she has to distort my record and hers."
The Full Story?
California Democratic Party Chair Art Torres maintained that the ad is factually accurate. "This is the consistent pattern of his campaign, trying to stake out both sides of an issue. He says he's 'pro-choice' on abortion, but only if it's in the first trimester. He says he supports a patient's right to sue an HMO, but only if liability is limited," Torres said. Roy Behr, a Boxer aide, said the campaign will not ask the state party to withdraw the ad. Campaign analyst Kathleen Hall Jamieson agreed that the ad presented incomplete information on Fong's views. "You need to know more information than the ad provides to cast an informed vote on this issue," she said (Mecoy/Capps, Sacramento Bee, 10/16).