On Tuesday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee defeated a bill backed by Governor Davis to narrow the scope of California’s HMO liability law.
AB 2039 was defeated with three votes in favor and eight opposed. The bill would have struck from the right to sue law, scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2001, provisions which allow those who suffer or face imminent significant financial harm to have the right to go to court and collect damages without having to wait for the HMO’s internal appeals process, then an external review decision.
“The legislature has correctly refused to allow for a bait and switch of an HMO liability law that has not even taken effect,” said Jamie Court, advocacy director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, sponsor of last year’s HMO liability law, SB 21. “The legislature must not narrow patients’ rights before the public has the ability to avail themselves of those rights.”