Consumer Group Called For Resignation One Year Ago, Retracted Last Night
One day after the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) retracted its year-old request for Aetna CEO Richard Huber’s resignation, Huber resigned under pressure from board members and stock holders.
FTCR sought Huber’s resignation in February 1999 after the C.E.O. called the wife of a deceased Aetna patient “a weeping widow.” The retraction letter sent yesterday by FTCR advocacy director Jamie Court states that Mr. Huber’s arrogant indifference to patients, doctors and nurses has actually helped to drive the HMO reform movement by personifying all that is bad about HMO medicine. “Huber is the best weapon we have to bolster the case for patients’ rights,” Court wrote to shareholders. “If Mr. Huber were to be dismissed, we would sorely miss him.”
Court said today, “The poster boy for HMO arrogance finally received his pink slip but the industry-wide indifference to patients he personified will continue unless patients’ rights legislation is enacted soon. We may not have Dick Huber to kick around any longer, but patients will continue to get the short end of the stick from their HMO until Congress passes a patients’ bill of rights.”
Court noted Huber’s replacement was not a health care professional, but another investment banker, who, like Huber, may not know enough about health care service delivery. He also cautioned that FTCR would oppose any excessive compensation package offered to Huber for an early departure.