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Read Making a Killing

home / healthcare / in the media

CNN
Sep 27, 1999

by Jim Moret and Charles Feldman

New Law Allows Californians to Sue Health Care Insurance Providers

SHOW: CNN THE WORLD TODAY 20:00 pm ETTranscript # 99092710V23
California governor Gray Davis signed legislation earlier today allowing many patients to sue health insurers if they can prove they've been harmed by decisions about treatment. The reform package also entitles patients to appeal denials of treatment to independent reviewers.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JIM MORET, CNN ANCHOR: Californians will soon enjoy expanded rights when it comes to dealing with health care providers. Governor Gray Davis signed legislation earlier today allowing many patients to sue insurers if they can prove they've been harmed by decisions about treatment.

CNN's Charles Feldman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT

(voice-over): An estimated 15 million Californians with health insurance will soon be able to do something they could not do before: sue their health care insurance providers.

The reform package in California also entitles patients to appeal denials of treatment to independent reviewers. Taken together, these two measures are sending shockwaves throughout the managed health care industry. Ninety-five percent of Californians with health insurance are enrolled in managed care programs.

JAMIE COURT, FOUNDATION FOR TAXPAYER AND CONSUMER RIGHTS: We gave birth to the industry, and now we're pioneering a system of discipline for the industry that, I think, will spread to every state in the nation.

FELDMAN: The health care industry, which has already seen Texas adopt similar liability legislation, is keeping a sharp eye on the nation's most populous state.

KAREN IGNAGNI, AMERICAN ASSN. OF HEALTH PLANS: The focus of the system in California appears to be on objective, honest and very, very effective external review, and that's a welcome change from our perspective. But we will continue to have issues with respect to liability.

DR. FRED LIEBERMAN, INTERNAL MEDICINE: Shirley, hi, how are you?

FELDMAN: HMO doctor Fred Lieberman doesn't think much of the reform movement. He says what really counts is the relationship between the individual doctor and the patient.

LIEBERMAN: It comes down to whether the doctor is the advocate of the patient and will stand up and fight for the patient, and if he or she does that the patient will do well in any system.

FELDMAN: The issue of health care liability is shaping up as a hot topic in the 2000 presidential race. The lobbying from both sides of the debate has already begun.


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