INDEPENDENT REVIEW: Bills Need Work, Sac Bee Says
Three bills in the state Legislature that aim to establish clear independent review processes are among the "most important managed care legislation of the session," says an editorial in today's Sacramento Bee. However, all three measures -- Assemblywoman Helen Thomson's (D-Davis) AB 1621, Assemblywoman Carole Migden's (D-San Fransisco) AB 55 and state Sen. Adam Schiff's (D) SB 189 -- "need surgery." While all three would create a review system for those health plan enrollees who have "been denied, delayed or terminated," the "bill that deserves Gov. Gray Davis' signature would be the one that focuses on the many important details in instituting a process that is fast and fair." But all three bills, the piece says, "have extraneous and dangerous proposals attached to them," such as the provision making the findings of the review system inadmissible in court. The editorial says, "If some enrollee seeks some treatment and is rightly denied by these experts, juries should know that the denial wasn't based solely on a decision by the health plan. Doing otherwise is an outrageous attempt to seek wildly inflated jury verdicts that end up costing all enrollees and employers higher premiums." Another sticking point is an attempt by Democrats to "link liability to independent review." Unless the bills are corrected quickly, the Democrats will have wasted another chance at passing much-needed reform and demonstrated how deeply they have fallen into the pockets of trial lawyers who underwrite their re-election campaigns," the Bee says (7/7).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.