Union Power and Medical Waiting Times – Pacific Research Institute

Union Power and Medical Waiting Times

California recently enacted new, tighter rules mandating maximum waiting times for appointments with primary-care docs and specialists in managed-care plans (HMOs), such as Kaiser Permanente. According to regulators, the problem is so bad it threatens a “feudal situation”.

On top of this, the California Nurses Association has produced a bizarre report that claims that health plans reject 22% of all claims, which it has not published but shared with Attorney-General Jerry Brown and, apparently, the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Girion.

Years ago, organized nursing in California enlisted government power to impose one-size-fits all nurse-patient staffing ratios in the state’s hospitals, which hospitals credibly assert has caused emergency rooms to close and acute-care services to be cut back, because they simply cannot fill the mandated positions.

Yesterday, the National Right to Work Committee entered the mix (excuse the pun), with a valuable and timely op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by its President, Mark Mix. At Kaiser Permanente, explains Mr. Mix, union bosses play a “co-equal” role with the HMO’s managers in running the operation, and warns us against Detroit-style labor relations in the hospitals.

I expect that this is one explanation for the deteriorating access to care in California’s HMOs.

This blog post originally appeared on State Policy Network.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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