Today’s Health Care Check-Up: — January 5, 2000
Following are excerpts from an op-ed about the "right" to sue HMOs that
appeared in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times:
"Suing HMOs Won’t Improve Care:
Litigation Doesn’t Get the Right People to Deliver the Right Treatment
at the Right Time and Place"
"[A]n unstructured, unconditional ‘right’ to sue could set off a tidal
wave of litigation against deep-pocket health plans that would scare off
both the employers who pay for care and the practitioners who provide
The ostensible reason for suing health plans for mismanagement is to
promote better care. … But research documents huge gaps between the care
people should get and what they actually do get. Overservice, underservice
and wrong service persist no matter the type of provider or health
Last month, the National Academy of Sciences pegged the annual toll of
avoidable deaths at up to 98,000. Clearly, 50 years of lawsuits against
doctors and hospitals haven’t made medicine as safe, effective or
efficient as it should be."
—Randall Bovbjerg, lawyer and health care researcher for the Urban
Institute, "Suing HMOs Won’t Improve Care: Litigation Doesn’t Get the
Right People to Deliver the Right Treatment at the Right Time and Place,"
Los Angeles Times, 1/4/00
Is Congress more interested in passing a "Patients’ Bill
or a "Lawyer’s Right to Bill"?