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Managed Care Industry Distorts the Truth - AGAIN; Insurance Industry Shifts Blame of Current Healthcare Crisis to Lawyers, Archie Lamb Says.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Recent statements by the American Association of Health Plans indicate that Washington's powerful insurance industry lobby is resorting to the age-old tactic of changing the subject instead of taking responsibility for its role in the current healthcare crisis, said attorney Archie Lamb.

Mr. Lamb's comments are in reference to the statement released by the AAHP yesterday in support of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2001 (HR 2341), stating health care litigation is causing the cost of healthcare to rise. In addition, the AAHP statement claimed trial lawyers are benefiting financially from such lawsuits at the expense of consumers

"The fact is, the data in a number of states that have passed legislation to encourage litigation in insurance fraud cases will indicate that the opposite is true," Lamb said. "All you have to do is look at the model in Texas to disprove this claim."

The Texas Health Care Liability Act, passed into law in 1997, made Texas the first state to impose malpractice accountability on insurance companies whose treatment decisions cause injury. Since its passage, there have been few lawsuits actually filed.

Lamb is a lead attorney for a consortium of law firms heading up numerous lawsuits against the nation's largest for-profit HMOs. These cases are part of the multi-district litigation consolidated in Florida's Southern District Court, Miami Division. (MDL No. 1334-MD-Moreno)

"It is ironic that the industry, without any legitimate justification, insists on raising insurance premiums in election years," Lamb said. "They stir up the small business, including the physicians and physicians groups, by raising insurance premiums and they blame it on lawsuits and lawyers. However, this industry never presents hard proof of the relationship between litigation and premium increases. Slowly but surely the public is seeing through this sham and they are quickly getting sick and tired of it."

These latest statements mark the second time in recent weeks the AAHP has tried to shift the blame of their role in the health care crisis. The AAHP also took out ads in Hollywood and Washington, D.C. publications to coincide with the motion picture release of "John Q.," alleging Washington, D.C. lawmakers are not doing enough about the uninsured population.

"Three weeks ago, the AAHP was blaming the federal government for the health care crisis and now it is the lawyers," Lamb said. "When is the insurance lobby going to finally act responsible and accept their accountability for the healthcare crisis in America?"

Lamb, who appeared last week on CNN to discuss the current healthcare crisis, is suing managed healthcare companies, including Humana, Aetna, Cigna, United, Pacificare, Prudential, Healthnet and Wellpoint. The lawsuit accuses the HMOs of fraud, extortion and racketeering by delaying and denying payments to doctors and engaging in predatory and deceptive business practices throughout the United States. (Please see www.HMOCrisis.com for more information or e-mail alamb@archielamb.com , or adbuckley@jump.net for a copy of the CNN interview)
 CONTACT: Archie Lamb
 (800)324-4425 or (205)612-4630
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Contact: Archie Lamb, +1-800-324-4425 or +1-205-612-4630

Website: http://www.hmocrisis.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 9, 2002
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