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.
- Compiled by HR.BLR.com Editor Kevin Flood