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AIF Health Care Poll from March

March 1, 2000

On the issue of health care and HMOs, which would you be more likely to support:

A proposal that would give HMO patients the right to a quick independent review any time there is a disagreement about medical care by their health plan

All Respondents.............59%

HMO Respondents.........64%

---OR---

A proposal that would give HMO patients the right to sue their health plan for an unlimited amount if there is a disagreement about medical coverage..

All Respondents.............29%

HMO Respondents.........31% 


There are groups that are pushing legislation to allow further lawsuits against HMO. Currently, under Florida law, a person has the right to sue an HMO to force the HMO to provide certain medical services or when dissatisfied with their coverage. These additional lawsuits would allow for punitive damages, known as pain and suffering award.

Now I am going to read you some statements and arguments people are using when discussing the plans to allow more lawsuits against HMOs. After I read each one, please tell me how you feel... whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree with each statement. Here's the first one:

The primary impact of lawsuits will be to drive up the cost of health care for everyone because insurance companies will just pass those costs on to the customers.

  • ALL RESPONDENTS
  • Strongly agree.................43%
  • Somewhat agree.............23%
  • Somewhat disagree........12%
  • Strongly disagree.............17%

  • HMO RESPONDENTS
  • Strongly agree..................40%
  • Somewhat agree..............22%
  • Somewhat disagree.........13%
  • Strongly disagree.............13%

Opening up HMOs to punitive damages lawsuits will have a chilling cost effect on businesses and many may decide not to provide health insurance to employees because they will not be able to afford it.

  • ALL RESPONDENTS
  • Strongly agree.................35%
  • Somewhat agree............25%
  • Somewhat disagree.......16%
  • Strongly disagree............16%
  •  
  • HMO RESPONDENTS
  • Strongly agree.................39%
  • Somewhat agree.............27%
  • Somewhat disagree........16%
  • Strongly disagree.............14% 

A quick, independent review when there is a dispute is better than a lawsuit because the review would be a fast, fair and efficient way to get the necessary medical treatment. Lawsuits that provide for punitive damages are not a fast, fair or efficient way to receive the necessary medical treatment.

  • ALL RESPONDENTS
  • Strongly agree.................47%
  • Somewhat agree............26%
  • Somewhat disagree.......9%
  • Strongly disagree............9%
  •  
  • HMO RESPONDENTS
  • Strongly agree...............50%
  • Somewhat agree...........27%
  • Somewhat disagree.......9%
  • Strongly disagree............8%

HMOs ought to be sued because they provide terrible care and the threat of lawsuits is the only way to make them shape up.

  • ALL RESPONDENTS
  • Strongly agree.................22%
  • Somewhat agree............16%
  • Somewhat disagree.......23%
  • Strongly disagree...........30%
  •  
  • HMO RESPONDENTS
  • Strongly agree................18%
  • Somewhat agree...........15%
  • Somewhat disagree......25%
  • Strongly disagree..........35%