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home / healthcare / press releases

Jul 18, 2000

CONTACT: Andy Pontious - 310-392-0522 x308

President Asked to End Practice of Patient Dumping by Medicare HMOs;

Group Calls For Executive Order Implementing "All Or Nothing Policy"
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) wrote President Clinton today asking him to issue an Executive Order stating that an HMO must abandon all Medicare contracts if the company wants to drop any. The "all-or-nothing" policy would end the practice of HMOs abandoning elderly patients when the companies deem their Medicare profits in certain counties too low.

In late 1998, Medicare HMOs began dropping out of a significant number of counties where they felt their reimbursements were not high enough or their costs were too high. The industry announced it will abandon coverage for at least 700,000 Medicare patients across the nation by the end of this year.

"Taxpayers should not subsidize Medicare HMOs that selectively choose those markets in which they want to participate," wrote FTCR advocates Jamie Court and Andrew Pontious. " If an HMO commits to the delivery of health care for Medicare recipients, then the HMO should serve all Medicare recipients it is able to serve."

FTCR recommended that the President follow the example of Aetna's "all products" policy, where all doctors doing business with the nation's largest managed care company must see all Aetna patients and use all Aetna products or have access to no Aetna patients. Aetna announced recently it would dump 335,000 Medicare patients across 11 states by the end of 2000.


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