Patients’ Rights Overlooked in Final Hours of Legislative Session, Sacramento Bee Says
With the state facing an energy crisis and a slowing economy, a Sacramento Bee editorial says that, although "shame[ful]," it is "hardly surprising" that efforts to "strengthen the rights of patients got left behind in the final frantic hours of the legislative session." The editorial says that "health care was relegated to the status of a sideshow that featured yet another war between health plans and doctors," as lawmakers attempted to address what to do when health plans and doctors have disagreements over money during contract negotiations. The editorial says that the "misguided solution" that received the most attention was AB 1600, sponsored by Assembly member Fred Keeley (D-Boulder Creek), which would have allowed doctors to bring contract disputes before a judge. The editorial notes that the bill "ultimately failed," as did two other bills -- SB 103, sponsored by Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) and AB 1522, sponsored by Sen. Helen Thomson (D-Davis) -- that attempted to "empower patients" during contract disputes. Noting that "rights for patients became a political footnote" during the legislative session, the editorial concludes, "The same set of problems awaits a solution for lawmakers next year. Between now and then, all Californians should let their lawmakers know that they expect a more productive outcome next time around" (Sacramento Bee, 9/23).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.