Letter: HMO suit
The Las Vegas Review-Journal headline, “Nevada patient wins suit,” was a little misleading. The old case was against the HMO which had promised the patients they would co-pay 20 percent while the HMO paid 80 percent. The patients did pay 20 percent; however, because of the value of the customers to the hospital, they agreed to cover or reduce some of the costs to the HMO.
Attorneys decided that this was an opportunity for big money and decided the HMO was acting improperly and sued not only for the supposed loss to the patients, but with the court’s approval, sued for triple damages using the anti-racketeering law. Under our presidential leadership, class action suits are most welcome, and the outcome is always the same; attorneys get rich and the plaintiffs get almost nothing.
The attorneys won their suit for $23,000,000, and the all-important patients each won $263. The attorneys, true to form, won $12,100,000 plus the costs of $920,000. The patients lost $28,800,000 because of the increased costs to the hospital and HMO; their future costs will be increased and/or services limited until the costs of the suit are recovered.
The class action and product liability suits have skyrocketed during the Clinton/Gore administration, which has made attorneys wealthy beyond belief. This action had two benefits to the administration; 1. it further contributes to the destruction of HMOs (started with the reduction of Medicare payments to HMOs who are, financially, totally responsible for the patients’ medical) and 2. increasing income to the rich, including those in the legal field.
MEL E. DENNEY