TOM CAMPBELL: Collective Bargaining Bill Brings Recognition, Election Cash
Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) "stands at the center of a national debate" about physician collective bargaining, as his bill is debated in Congress, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Campbell brings expertise to the issue: he is a Stanford law professor, antitrust expert and former Federal Trade Commission official. He has the support of 218 cosponsors who back the bill for various reasons. Democrats favor the plan because it uses a collective bargaining model, while Republicans view it as a less expensive alternative to a patients' bill of rights. Campbell, who is challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the fall, explained that "doctors who in good faith want to do more for their patients can't do so now because HMOs have a negotiating advantage." According a Feinstein spokesperson, the incumbent has no position on the bill, but she noted that both the FTC and the Department of Justice oppose the legislation. The Union-Tribune reports that sponsoring the bill has helped boost Campbell's visibility, particularly among doctors -- "all of them potential donors to his Senate race." Donald Palmisano, an AMA trustee, said that Campbell has been a "wonderful advocate" for physicians. "He knows all about antitrust law and he helped apply those laws during the Reagan administration," Palmisano said. Health Insurance Association of America spokesman Richard Coorsh believes the bill is mostly a fundraising tool for Campbell. "I'm sure it helps him get contributions from the provider community," Coorsh said (Ainsworth, 6/4).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.