HMO REFORM: Davis Taken to Task by Consumer Activist
Days after Gov. Gray Davis told key Democratic leaders to slow down on managed care reform, consumer-rights activist Ralph Nader blasted Davis for demonstrating the "antithesis of leadership" and playing to the interests of campaign donors, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports. In a "sharply worded letter to Davis," Nader and Harvey Rosenfield, head of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, noted that consumer-rights activists have long waited for a Democratic governor in Sacremento. "Now that you have reached your long-sought and hard-fought destination, what do you intend to do there? The answer, at best deeply disappointing, seems to be nothing at all," they said. According to the activists, Davis' leadership "has seemingly evaporated amidst disturbing reports of aggressive fund-raising from interest groups on all sides of these issues." At the same time, Nader and Rosenfield took issue with Davis' decision to launch a task force to hash out, in private, a reasonable manged care reform agenda. Deriding the private meetings with HMO executives and seven lawmakers as a "ruse" reminiscent of those of his predecessor, Gov. Pete Wilson (R), the activists said that Davis is acting with "no representation of patients, consumers or even nurses or doctors." The Union-Tribune reports that California Association of Health Plans President Walter Zelman is expected to attend today's meeting, during which members of Nader's foundation will protest outside. For his part, Davis insists that the contributions -- including $100,000 raised at a California Association of Health Plans fund-raiser last month -- have no bearing on his stance. "The governor is very serious about enacting real reforms that mean something for California consumers," said Davis spokesperson Michael Bustamante, adding, "It's too important to take a shotgun approach" (Lindlaw, 7/19).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.