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Read Making a Killing

home / healthcare / press releases

Jun 29, 1999

CONTACT: Jamie Court - 310-392-0522 x327

HMO Liability Bill Passes Assembly Judiciary Committee With GOP on Board

By a vote of 8-2, the California Assembly Judiciary Committee approved a historic HMO liability bill that gives patients with private industry healthcare coverage the same right to sue for damages that is currently only enjoyed by public employees.

SB 21 (Figueroa), sponsored by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), garnered the vote of two Republicans, Assemblyman George House (R- Hughson) and Assemblyman Robert Pacheco (R- Walnut), as well as the Committees' Democrats.
The legislation is based on a landmark 1997 Texas law which has resulted in much deterrence of HMO wrongdoing, with few costs and only one lawsuit. The Texas law was enacted under Gov. George Bush Jr., a Republican.

SB 21, which passed the California Senate in May, will now be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee followed by the full Assembly, before reaching the Governor's desk.

"This bipartisan measure will provide patients much-needed leverage against HMOs that delay and deny appropriate, but expensive, medical care," said Jamie Court, FTCR's advocacy director. "Every wrong should have a right and every patient should have a remedy. That statement is something even George Bush Jr. and Bill Clinton can agree on, so Gov. Davis should have no problem supporting the measure."

Sen. Liz Figueroa (D- Fremont), SB 21's author, stated, "We are all gratified that members of the Republican caucus are beginning to recognize that these are important protections for all California citizens."


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