PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: Americans Want PARCA-Like Protection
A new poll "indicates a large portion of Americans may be in favor of holding managed health care plans liable for negligent acts, even if that means their health care premiums could go up in the process," CongressDaily/A.M. reports. Commissioned by the American Psychological Association, the survey found that 64% said they would "strongly support" legislation similar to Rep. Charlie Norwood's (R-GA) Patient Access To Responsible Care Act, and 22% said they would "somewhat support" a PARCA-like bill. Additionally, the survey found that 52% "said their strong support would not waver, even if it meant their premiums would go up an additional $1 to $4 per month," and 37% "claimed they would strongly support such a bill even if their premiums increased by $5 to $10 a month" (Newman-Barnett, 5/8). The survey also found that 77% of respondents support changing federal law to allow patients to sue a managed care company when they are injured by negligent decisions or cost containment actions. Russ Newman, Ph.D., the head of professional practice for the American Psychological Association, said, "In short, the public is losing trust in managed care. Our poll shows that Americans now want specific solutions that remedy their concerns" (APA release, 5/7). Norwood said, "The 105th Congress needs to sit up and listen. And they had better be listening to the working people in their districts instead of the inside-the-beltway crowd" (Norwood release, 5/7). The APA-sponsored survey of 1,000 adults was conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Inc.; the margin of error is +/-3.1% (APA release, 5/7).
Responding to the APA polling data, American Association of Health Plans President Karen Ignagni said, "The Achilles heel of the liability issue -- cost -- has not even been a part of the debate. The facts are clear: America's working families and small businesses are not willing to trade access to affordable health care coverage in order to provide a boon to trial lawyers. Extending the flawed tort system to health plans will turn back the clock and encourage defensive medical practices that only increase costs" (AAHP release, 5/8).