PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: Kuehl Plays Both Sides of Health Care Coin
Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) flip-flopped her position on the right to sue HMOs, as she "carried two of the most important -- and contradictory -- HMO regulation bills in the Legislature this year," columnist Bill Ainsworth writes in yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune. One bill would have made it easier for California HMO patients to sue their health plans, while the other "tried to make it more difficult." Neither bill succeeded. Ainsworth asks, "[S]ome wondered what in the world Kuehl was thinking -- was it a possible case of split personality?" However, Ainsworth concedes that Kuehl has "a reputation as one of the most personable, popular and liberal lawmakers," and points out that "she felt she had to push the bill because of an obligation to Gov. Gray Davis (D), who worried that the liability law he signed last year would invite too many lawsuits." Kuehl said, "I felt I had an ethical obligation to support it." Ainsworth concludes, "Kuehl fulfilled a practical goal, too: Keeping on the good side of a powerful, popular governor" (7/10).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.