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Aetna's hoggishness

Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer - Mon., 3/1/99
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Our March Hog features the biggest porker in American corporatized medicine: Aetna US Healthcare, a leader in killing the 'Patient's Bill of Rights" in last year's Congress.

Mr. Joseph Plocica could tell you about the need for this bill of rights ... except he's dead. Even though he was medically unstable, he was released from a Fort Worth psychiatric ward against the pleas of his own psychiatrist who said he needed more hospital time. Right after his release, Mr. Plocica drank a half gallon of anti-freeze, killing himself.

He was released into that dark night by a faraway doctor who'd never seen him. This doctor worked for Aetna, Mr. Plocica's HMO, and he decreed that the company would not pay for another night in the hospital. An Aetna lawyer said HMOs don't decide when patients go home, just whether their stay is paid for. Try explaining that distinction to Mr. Plocica's family.

Aetna lobbyists are back in Washington this year, trying once again to kill the Patient's Bill of Rights. To hog be Aetna and support patents' rights, contact Families USA: (202) 628-3030 or

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