by State Rep. Debra Brimhall
Have you had trouble dealing with your health insurance company? You're not alone. Denial of procedures and prescriptions are far too common. Denials can even occur against your doctor's wishes! When you are sick, the last thing you want to deal with is an HMO accountant stopping the treatment your doctor prescribes.
Countless Arizonans from all walks of life have had to deal with the red tape of HMOs. Far too many of the horror stories you've heard are true. This is a nationally recognized problem
This year I joined a number of members from the Arizona House of Representatives in introducing the Patients' Protection Act. This important piece of legislation concentrates on solving the countless delays, frustrations and denials associated with HMOs without increasing costs or limiting access. It is a common-sense approach to providing the best possible health care to hard-working Arizonans with HMO health insurance.
We do not need a national solution; we need to address this issue within each of our own states where we can have competition and healthy comparisons between states to address these issues without a one size or federal government control. We need to be able as states to say "no thanks;" we do not need you, we took care of our own!
Unfortunately , a handful of large corporations have decided that no changes are needed, that denials of care are "market decisions." They argue that the bottom line matters more than your health.
Despite expensive attacks with lofty political rhetoric and misleading propaganda, the Patients' Protection Act (HB2014), now known as SB1165, is our best opportunity to stop the denials, to limit the senseless rationing of care, and to replace the excuses with answers.
My support of the Patients' Protection Act comes after only the most careful consideration of the views of the constituency which I humbly serve. Your phone calls, letters, e-mails and visits in support of this legislation have been particularly gratifying. I campaigned on and will keep my promise to encourage limited government, lower taxes, to be a voice for the most vulnerable among us and to guarantee basic protections of those that may be too sick to defend themselves.
Arizonans deserve to have the very best health care available in the world. As we watch health care and insurance costs rise by double digits every year, we recognize that we as responsible, conscientious citizens need to investigate and begin some difficult measures to address that issue.
To use those cost increases as a threat against HMO reform is an abuse of our friends, family and neighbors. Please take courage. Be not intimidated and allow threats and fear to cause you to lose hope and faith in the responsibility we have, to not allow big money and these expensive attacks to control or run our state.
As these lobbyists march through my office threatening me with their ability to raise millions of dollars to spin this issue, to scare the public into mob panic, to make sure I am never re-elected, I encourage them to do so, that I will always choose to keep the faith in the people I represent and work for them. I will not be controlled or blackmailed by the threat of not being re-elected. I will do what is for the little guy who is counting on me to represent them.
Large corporations will continue to spend thousands of dollars on attack ads and well-paid lobbyists that will threaten you with higher costs. I can assure you their deep pockets will not hinder our goal of adding accountability and responsibility to the insurance industry and returning responsibility to you and the doctor you choose on the concerns related to your health.
We have information packets (including raises and multimillion dollar incomes of HMO CEO's) available upon request. Send your name and address to me, Rep. Debra Brimhall, at 1700 W. Washington, House Wing Room 341, Phoenix, AZ 85007 or call 602-542-5861 and be sure to leave a message with your address requesting the HMO Reform Packet.