Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today expressed her concerns that state regulators are failing to adequately protect patients and doctors in California from HMO abuse. Two weeks after Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed meaningful HMO reform, the California Medical Association yesterday called on the California Department of Corporations to produce new rules to enforce its oversight of managed care plans. "The Republican administration in Sacramento shares with the Republican leadership in Congress the utter failure to protect consumers and doctors from HMO abuse," Pelosi said. "The Republican Congress voted down an effective Democratic plan for managed care reform, and then offered a weak alternative.
"The Democratic Patients' Bill of Rights would have ensured that treatment decisions are made by a patient's doctor, not an insurance company. The Republican version did not provide this protection. The Democratic bill would have held managed care plans accountable when their decisions to withhold or limit care injured patients. The Republican plan did not. The Democratic plan would have given women direct access to ob-gyn services, without limitations that impede access to services. The Republican plan gave no such protection.
"The Republican Governor and the Republican Congress have both failed to protect health care consumers and doctors. Patients are now at the mercy of insurance company accountants. Regulators must act in the public interest, not the special interest," Pelosi said.
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