HR Strange But True!
February 14, 2002

You'd think HMOs would be running for cover with the premiere of "John Q," the new Denzel Washington movie about a father who takes matters into his own hands after his employer-sponsored health plan refuses to cover his son's desperately needed heart transplant.

But according to the Washington Post, HMOs are actually embracing the movie.

The American Association of Health Plans, which represents health maintenance organizations and other managed-care plans, is running ads in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call and in the Hollywood trade press with this message:

"John Q/It's not just a movie/It's a crisis for 40 million people who can't afford health care . . . Instead of offering solutions, some in Washington are making the problem worse - pointing fingers and even proposing new laws that will make it harder for employers like John Q's to provide quality, affordable health care. Sometimes it seems like health plans are the only ones trying to make health care more affordable."

Mark Merritt, senior vice president and chief of strategic planning for AAHP, told the Post that he's "a huge Denzel Washington fan" and believes it makes sense to take advantage of the movie. The idea, he said, is to refocus the debate on helping the uninsured millions. "Hollywood and Washington leverage off each other all the time . . . shame on us if we don't move our message," he said.

Source: Washington Post

- Compiled by Editor Kevin Flood

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