Political Malpractice

In taking on HMOs, the Senate produced lots of drama. TIME sorts out what makes sense and what doesn't

Anyone who watched Senate Democrats wax hysterical over managed care's evils while Republicans passed their milder version of HMO reform last week can be forgiven for not knowing two essential facts. First, 97% of treatment decisions by doctors are okayed by managed-care plans, one study shows. So those grisly stories repeated from the Senate floor--the woman who didn't get the catheterization and died--are true exceptions. Next, about 40 states already give patients some of the protections Democrats sought in their broader "bill of rights." The disingenuousness was bipartisan, of course. The Republicans, who had gleefully foiled President Clinton's first-term plan to...

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