Kaiser Permanente the ‘Bad Guy’ in Legal Challenges to DMHC’s Authority, Fresno Bee Says
By asking a court to hold Department of Managed Health Care Director Daniel Zingale in contempt, the "executives at Kaiser Permanente gave [him] an early holiday present," making him "look good" and themselves "look very bad," a Fresno Bee editorial states. In initiating their challenge to a $1.1 million fine from the DMHC, lawyers for Kaiser Permanente "happened to forget about the court of public opinion," the Bee adds (Fresno Bee, 12/18). A federal judge last week ruled that Zingale did not exceed his authority as a state regulator when he increased Kaiser Permanente's fine by $100,000 based in part on the death of a patient enrolled in the insurer's Medicare+Choice plan, Senior Advantage, at a Kaiser facility. Kaiser appealed the fine, arguing that Zingale's consideration of the death has violated an August ruling that federal law supersedes state law with respect to Medicare beneficiaries (California Healthline, 12/11). The Bee states that in the "strictest reading of the health codes, maybe, just maybe, those Kaiser lawyers had a case." But in order to win their case, they "would have to hammer Zingale for looking after the state's senior citizens." The editorial concludes, "The actual legal challenges have yet to play to their ultimate conclusion. The public's verdict, however, is already in. Zingale's a hero. And Kaiser ... has made itself into the bad guy in the eyes of public opinion" (Fresno Bee, 12/18).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.