Monday, June 21, 2004

HMOs win

From American Street, discouraging news that SCOTUS unanimously rules for HMOs.
Patients cannot sue health maintenance organizations under state law for refusing to pay for doctor-recommended care, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a decision that could affect millions of Americans.

The justices unanimously ruled that a 1974 federal law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, completely pre-empted such lawsuits brought in state court by patients who seek damages from their HMOs over the denial of medical care.
And what this means is that it's now up to Congress (ultimately us) if we want any change in this situation. Time to get them to write up the patient's bill of rights.

One last thing: in this election year, it is absolutely necessary to point out here lies a classic case of flipflopping by our very own Dubya. When he running for president in 2000, he proudly pointed out this Texas law, allowing patients to sue HMOs, as one of his accomplishments. I guess this was when he was still pretending to be the compassionate conservative.

Here's what our guy has to say on the subject:
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry said the ruling showed a need for a national law to "hold HMOs accountable for decisions that harm patients by denying necessary care."