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HMOs Part I

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - The Turning Tide Against HMOs

The Turning Tide Against HMOs

When they first came out, everybody got excited; now people are not so sure. HMOs - are they good for your health?

An HMO or health maintenance organization is supposed to help you feel better. HMOs are sort of like insurance companies. You subscribe to their health care plan and they decide how you get health care services.

But what happens when you and your HMO disagree about your health care or the care of a loved one? What happens when you don’t like the doctors advice, or the doctor doesn’t like you, or you and your doctor want to pursue treatment that your HMO won't pay for?

Then, you are out of luck. And maybe out of time.

Such was the case for Phyllis Cannon from Oklahoma. Her HMO denied a bone marrow transplant recommended by her doctor. She died. So did Melody Louise Johnson. Her mother claims their HMO denied the necessary treatment Melody needed to combat her cystic fibrosis.

The problem here, according to Dr. Thomas Reardon, president of the American Medical Association, is that you have
"... a third party second-guessing the physician." This problem gets real sticky when that third party’s number one priority is making money for folks that own it.

To quote the old phrase, "the bloom is off the rose" for HMOs and the managed care industry. Now the thorns of this latest fad in health care are beginning to appear and painfully touch the lives of real people.

Do you have an experience with an HMO you’d like to share? Please tell us about it.

More information on health care issues in America.

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