Zingale Responds to Wall Street Journal Article on Impasse in Federal Patients’ Rights Negotiations
A report that federal patients' rights legislation "appears dead is tragic for patients but also for Washington's opportunity to demonstrate that consumer advocacy and free-market protections are not mutually exclusive," Daniel Zingale, director of the Department of Managed Health Care, writes in a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor (Zingale, Wall Street Journal, 5/30). Zingale wrote the letter in response to a May 17 Journal report that failed White House-Senate negotiations on patients' rights bills passed last year in the House and Senate would prevent a compromise by election day. The negotiations have stalled over a dispute about the amount of damage awards that patients could receive in lawsuits against health plans (California Healthline, 5/17). In his letter, Zingale writes that lobbyists who say patients' rights legislation would increase costs and result in more lawsuits "should look at [California's] laws," which "go far beyond what's being debated in Congress." In 1999, Gov. Gray Davis (D) signed into law "some of the most aggressive patient rights laws in the nation," and according to Zingale, the laws have not led to the "slightest uptick in litigation, nor have they increased costs" (Wall Street Journal, 5/30). On Tuesday, Zingale joined Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) in San Jose to lobby for support for federal patients' rights legislation (Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 5/29).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.