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Patients' Bill of Rights for Healthy Living

January 23, 2002

Re "Justices Weigh States' Role in HMO Disputes," Jan. 17: Common sense dictates that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck. If our Supreme Court justices cannot see that HMOs are indeed insurance companies, then they are truly ducking the issue. Nonetheless, it is also up to Congress to clarify this issue once and for all.

The Congress had apparently inadvertently created this monster issue in its Employee Retirement Income Security Act legislation; it is now up to our Congress to remedy it before we start sending some of its members packing in the next election. Our politicians' refusal to pass the patients' bills of rights only highlights the need for true campaign finance reforms. We need more politicians who value the welfare of their constituents a little bit more highly than their own reelection.

John T. Chiu MD

Newport Beach

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