HMO REFORM: Democrats Hold The Key
Writing in today's Sacramento Bee, columnist Dan Walters says that there is "great potential for political exploitation" of the managed care reform issue in this election year, with candidates from both parties scrambling to get on the right side of the issue. He also notes that while it creates "an ideological dilemma for many Republicans, who generally oppose new government regulations," managed care reform also "creates a political dilemma for Democrats." Democrats can choose either to "attempt to work out compromises that will draw widespread legislative support," or "'jam' Wilson with more aggressive HMO bills that he's likely to veto and then portray Republicans during fall campaigns as insensitive to the plight of middle-class families." Walters says that a "source close to the issue said Democrats ... are likely to fashion measures that closely follow the Wilson task force's recommendations and/or are similar to reforms being enacted in other states with Republican governors -- especially Texas." However, Walters notes that if such a package contains a provision to allow patients to sue HMOs for malpractice -- the centerpiece of Texas' HMO reform package -- "it will be one sign" that Democrats have "decided on a jamming strategy" (6/16).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.