Insurance companies fight law

(August 20, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has filed a federal lawsuit, the latest move in a long-running debate over a state health insurance law. In 1995, the Legislature decided patients' health care choices were being eroded and responded with "any willing provider" legislation. That allows Arkansans to see their doctors if the physicians accept conditions set by patients' insurers. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and other insurers challenged the law. A federal district judge ruled in 1997 that it conflicted with a federal law, and an appeals court upheld the ruling. Many insurance companies argue such a law weakens competition and efforts to control costs. The U-S Supreme Court threw out similar arguments against Kentucky's any willing provider law in April. Blue Cross filed suit yesterday, asking how that court decision affects Arkansas' law.