Quoted in this article in the L.A. Times.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones lashed out Tuesday at
another double-digit rate hike for thousands of small businesses getting
their health insurance from industry giant Anthem Blue Cross.
But this time Jones got some help from a surprising
source. He has quietly tapped Consumer Watchdog, his political ally and
the state's most outspoken industry critic, to help review health
insurance rate increases under a one-year contract worth as much as
The insurance industry expressed dismay that the state enlisted its
longtime nemesis to help review rate increases, and some experts
questioned whether it's necessary to further antagonize insurers at a
time when state officials are trying to work closely with the industry
to implement a massive healthcare expansion.
Public-policy experts also scoffed at the arrangement.
"Their very aggressive stance against insurance companies raises
serious questions about a conflict of interest," said Jessica Levinson, a
Loyola Law School professor and expert on government ethics. "You want
an independent researcher."