HMO REFORM: Gov. Davis Urged To Sign Three Pending Bills
In its lead editorial, the Los Angeles Times assesses various managed care reform bills currently "streaming toward Gov. Gray Davis' desk," urging the passage of three of them. A measure by state Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) would expand Californians' ability to sue HMOs when they are denied medical care. Although the bill "could do much to help the nearly 500,000 Californians ... denied care or treatment by their health plans in 1996," the Times says that Davis' attempt to restrict Figueroa's bill "to cases in which patients suffered 'serious or catastrophic injury' ... is too narrow." Davis also "should commit to signing" a pending bill by Assemblyman Scott Baugh (R- Huntington Beach) that would "allow patients to see health plans' criteria for denying treatment." A third bill by state Sen. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) would allow patients to appeal decisions to external reviewers. The Times praises Davis for demanding protection for HMOs "from patently frivolous lawsuits" and for scolding legislators who failed to create a "well- coordinated, statewide HMO appeals system." "[I]f properly implemented," the Times asserts, "the Figueroa, Schiff and Baugh bills will go a long way toward fixing a system everyone knows is broken" (7/26).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.