MANAGED CARE REFORM: Can Davis Walk the Line?
Interest groups are chomping at the bit with more than 100 health care reform bills pending in the state Legislature, but "[i]t's anyone's guess what reforms the governor eventually will sign into law," the Sacramento Bee reports. Advocates for the uninsured, trial lawyers and nurses are among the most active groups, pushing for universal health care initiatives, an increased malpractice cap and minimum hospital staffing legislation, respectively (Griffith, 5/3). Davis "has stated bluntly that there indeed will be changes in the way California regulates its 116" HMOs, but it is unclear "exactly what changes ... the ever-cautious Davis" will make. Davis pollster Paul Maslin said managed care reform is "still a fairly second-tier issue. It's nowhere near education or crime in terms of public concern." Aside from Davis' announced plan to remove HMOs from the regulatory umbrella of the Department of Corporations, he has been vague. "Yet there also have been clear indications that Davis is looking to the managed care industry to readjust its own thinking so his administration isn't forced to be overly intrusive," the Bee reports. With HMOs' announcement last week that they will implement a voluntary independent review process, "Davis may indeed be able to oversee change by actually doing very little -- a Utopian circumstance for any politician, especially when voters aren't losing sleep over the issue" (Love, 5/3).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.