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News Bits from MichUHCAN December 1999 Newsletter

MichUHCAN Brings Message to Dems

At the Michigan Democratic Party's Issue Conference in mid-November, MichUHCAN members spoke to over 150 people attending the Health Care Panel. Congressman Dingell and State Legislators Thomas and Showers presented the Democrats' position on the health care crisis. That position endorsed the House Patients' Bill of Rights (a good one) and a general assault on HMOs along with a shopping list of small incremental changes.

MichUHCAN speakers were enthusiastically received by the attendees. They emphasized that the crisis is the lack of universality, of comprehensiveness, of quality care, and affordability. Each went on to urge the leaders of the Democratic Party to meet that crisis with a national health care program that will overcome those deficiencies and eliminate corporate profits.

HMO Will Let Docs Decide

One of the country's biggest HMOs, United Health Group, announced in November that it will no longer require pre-approval for doctor-recommended treatments and hospital admissions. The HMO will still review doctors' use of services after the fact.

United Health expects to save about $100 million per year on staff time by eliminating pre-approval. Less than 10% of doctors' requests were denied anyway, according to the company.

Labor Party Plans Campaign

The Detroit Labor Party health care committee met in November to plan its part in the national Labor Party's "Just Health Care" campaign.

Detroit Labor Party is planning speakers' training for early in the year. Then members will seek speaking engagements with organizations to educate on health care and help build the Labor Party's "Committee of One Million," supporters of single payer who sign the Labor Party's petition.

Members have also begun gathering signatures on the Just Health Care petition. For more information contact Al Cholger, 248-414-9291