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Home > Blog > The beginning of the end of managed health care?
Out of Our Minds
Thursday, September 02, 2004 9:23 AM
The beginning of the end of managed health care?
Anita Sharpe on Health & Wellness

If you notice an extra spring in your doctor's step today, it may be thanks to a decision handed down yesterday by the federal appeals court in Atlanta. The court ruled that a class-action lawsuit by 900,000 doctors against many of the nation's largest HMOs could go to trial.

The doctors accuse the HMOs of caring more about profits than providing millions of patients with necessary health care.

The suit also alleges that the HMOs conspired with one another to program their computers to underpay doctors.\n\nThe HMOs argued that the suit shouldn't have class-action status because the billions of dollars of potential claims could ruin the industry. But the three-judge panel unanimously rejected that argument. Wrote Judge Gerald Tjoflat, quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 'It would be unjust to allow corporations to engage in rampant and systematic wrongdoing, and then allow them to avoid a class action because the consequences of being held accountable for their misdeeds would be financially ruinous.'\n\nWhat does all this mean? The HMOs will likely settle; the managed health care system will likely become more attentive to patients; and health care costs will likely rise, again.\n\nOr, maybe this is the perfect time for smart people, as Kevin proposed recently, to step forward with new solutions.

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