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April 1998

May 1998

Annual Meeting 1998
President's Message (Grace Furukawa)
Reproductive Choice (Grace Furukawa)
State Land Use Commission (Astrid Monson)
What About the Woman? (Suzanne Meisenzahl)

President's Message

Dee Jay Mailer, Executive Director of Kaiser Foundation has been invited to speak at our Annual Meeting on "Health Trends". Most of us have followed the many newspaper articles on problems in the managed care system which has all but taken over America's health insurance industry. In 1983 the delegates to the national convention adopted a study of health care for all Leagues. This indepth 2-year study by all states developed our National Policy. We recommended a policy to "Promote a health care system in the U.S. that provides access to a basic level of quality care for all U. S. residents and controls health care costs". Costs at that time were escalating at an unbelievable rate. At the time of the study the League also recommended a "single payer option". That idea never saw the light of day.

The League also saw managed care as a reasonable cost containment measure, whether under a single payer system or private insurers. But the League hedged its endorsement by putting managed care as only on e of many cost containment measures recommended. We also added the phrase "cost containment mechanisms should not interfere with the delivery of quality health care".

A recent article in "The Economist" (3/7-13/98) has an interesting review of America's health care system and evaluated managed care to date. It makes the point the "HMOs are hugely unpopular. – Doctors are fuming at their loss of income, patients are livid at restrictions on the treatment they can receive, and politicians are scrambling to see who can bash the industry hardest." At another point it states "Managed care has curbed medical inflation without compromising the quality of care. The trouble is that managed care's drawbacks are more visible than their 7 benefits." President Clinton later this month will be proposing a Patient's Bill of Rights, to curb what is seen as abuses in the system.

I believe that we need to watch closely as this system continues on whether curbs are necessary. The League may, in the future, wish to revisit this study and reevaluate its policy.

Come to the Annual Meeting and hear Ms. Mailer on Kaiser's program. It is one of the most comprehensive Kaiser plans in the country and continues to operate in the black financially.

Grace Furukawa

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