MEDPARTNERS: Debacle Shows Need for Better Regulation
In a San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed, Consumers for Quality Care's Jamie Court writes that the developments surrounding MedPartners "dramatizes the newest vice spawned by HMO medicine -- physicians practicing insurance without a license." Saying the medical group is a "mid-level bureaucracy run by physicians" that has become "largely an unregulated fiefdom," Court calls for new rules to protect against this. He writes: "Gov. Gray Davis' administration has a historic opportunity to bring all medical groups under one regulatory umbrella and to create a guarantee fund for HMOs and HMOitos, like the guarantee fund that now exists for property casualty insurers. Even without the new legislation, the state could require all medical groups that accept full risk for patients to apply for a license." Court concludes: "In the long run, all Americans must consider whether they want the nation's health care dollars in the hands of so many who manage risk rather than in the hands of those who manage disease" (3/23).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.