One of the major flaws in the health care bill is that it leaves some important things up to the discretion of state insurance commissioners, and they’re notoriously friendly with the industry. Which means we have things like this happening:
Roughly 40,000 New Mexicans will watch their health care premiums rise by an average of 21 percent after the state struck a weekend deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield New Mexico.
The agreement may be a done deal after Monday, but how it came about had one member of the state Public Regulation Commission howling mad and at least one state lawmaker calling for legislation to overhaul the state’s rate-setting process.
“This should have been deliberated in public,” PRC member Jason Marks said of the rate hike.
PRC commissioners ordered state Insurance Superintendent Morris Chavez last month to hold Monday’s public hearing on Blue Cross Blue Shield’s request to raise rates 24.6 percent, something that insurance Division staff had approved originally in February.
“Instead, we got a backroom deal,” Marks said. “It could be an appropriate, reasonable deal, but I do know I had a lot of questions that haven’t been answered.”