New York’s new governor, David Paterson, was sent a joint letter yesterday by several consumer groups over the state’s medical malpractice insurance issues. Contention arose when former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, in response to a 14% malpractice rate hike (see: Why New York Medical Malpractice Insurance Jumped 14%) created a task force under the supervision of Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo to come up with solutions. The commission, however, was stacked with more than 20 medical and insurance interests and just three consumer interests.
A press release was issued yesterday from the Center for Justice and Democracy indicating that the groups were “gravely concerned that any recommendations that are the product of such process will not serve the public interest” due to the stacked deck.
The letter itself details a failure by the task force to turn over information to consumer advocates and that a “major reform proposal” will be unveiled shortly despite the fact there have been no meetings for months. Consumer groups, it appears, are only superficially a part of the task force. The groups claim they are “mere window dressing, to be used as stage props to create the illusion of inclusion.”
Given Spitzer’s pro-physician bias, the conduct of the task force comes as no surprise (see Eliot’s Mess: The Ramifications for Medical Malpractice “Reform” in New York). Hopefully, Gov. Paterson will deal with issues with an even hand.
The letter was sent by: Center for Justice & Democracy, Center for Medical Consumers and Citizen Action of New York (members of a task force) as well as by the statewide consumer group NYPIRG, medical malpractice victim group PULSE, and CURE-NY, a statewide coalition of 13 public interest groups.
See also: It’s Not Just Wall Street That’s Happy To See Spitzer Go (Mother Jones Blog)