Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.
July 14, 1999, Wednesday, FINAL EDITION
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 14A
LENGTH: 479 words
Put patients in 'driver's seat' on medical treatment
I agree with USA TODAY reporter William M.
Welch when he states
that the fundamental question in the health care debate
ultimately decides when a medical treatment is really necessary:
the patient's doctor or the patient's health insurance company?
'Medical necessity' is crux of health debate," News, Monday).
consider arrogant the suggestion by Charles Kahn III, president
Health Insurance Association of America, that any attempt
by Congress to
regulate managed care is a mistake, including trying
to control who has the
final say on issues of care because "it
puts the government between the
doctor and the patient."
Currently, the managed-care organizations
themselves between the doctor and the patient, with the
that we now need this current national debate.
Unfortunately, Congress granted them permission to run roughshod
over the patient-physician relationship, employers and even the
The recent "collusion" of plans for the
purpose of "boycotting"
the Medicare HMO program is a blatant attempt to
"fees" with their associated higher profits, while "striking"
against providing coverage for Medicare patients. This is illustrative
of their true motivation.
Another way to "level the playing
field" for our patients' benefit
would be to remove the following federal
-- The McCarran-Ferguson Act, which grants anti-trust
and leeway to insurers.
-- The Employee Retirement
Income Security Act (ERISA), which
grants insurers federal exemption from
state laws and regulations.
Passing an appropriate
"Patients' Bill of Rights" is a good
important is finding a way to assure coverage
for the uninsured with private
insurance that is accountable to
The ultimate solution
is the American Medical Association's plan
for a system which would
accomplish both goals while putting the
patient in the driver's seat.
Changing the tax structure to promote individual ownership of
health insurance must be the ultimate achievement.
Costly health care reform
One thing is certain when listening to the talk about HMO reform:
Hold on to your wallet ("Why should law protect HMOs that injure
patients?" Our View, Suing for malpractice debate, Tuesday).
When the federal government gets its hands on something like this,
it has never been able to do anything that has the effect of reducing
cost and increasing operating efficiency. In fact, quite the opposite
If the American people should have the right to sue an HMO, as
our lawmakers in Washington suggest, then is it not appropriate
have the right to sue Congress if it's wrong about the
costs of its good
LOAD-DATE: July 14, 1999