House Patients’ Rights Bill Would ‘Undercut’ State Laws
Although patients would "gain at least a little protection" under the patients' rights bill (HR 2365) that the House passed earlier this month, a Los Angeles Times editorial warns that the legislation would override "stronger patient protections" in California's patients' rights law and urges House and Senate negotiators to "get to work on changing that." The editorial adds that while the patients' rights bill (S 1052) passed by the Senate in June "does go overboard in favor of lawsuits," the House bill "undercuts not just lawyers but genuine victims of managed care miserliness and poor judgment." A third problem with the House bill, according to the editorial, is its provision allowing health plans to select members of independent appeals panels to evaluate health care disputes, provided that the reviewers do not have an "economic link" to the company. The editorial points out that "such reviewers have an economic link to the HMO because they are hired by it." The editorial concludes that House and Senate negotiators should "help make sure that the final bill protects state's rights, eases patient appeals and ensures the independence of medical review boards" (Los Angeles Times, 8/17).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.