The recently appointed Connecticut state health care exchange board contains three former high ranking private insurance executives. From the CT Mirror:
The members of the new panel include three former insurance executives, the head of a coalition of health plans for unionized workers, the head of a green energy business, and a health policy scholar who is married to a state representative. It will be led by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. […]
Board members who worked in the insurance industry include: Mickey Herbert, former president and CEO of ConnectiCare; Mary Fox, a former senior vice president for Aetna Product Group; and Dr. Robert Scalettar, who has served in top medical positions at Aetna Better Health, AmeriChoice by UnitedHealthcare, and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
This is just the latest example of how many of the new state based insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act are becoming dominated by individuals with close ties to the private insurance and hospital industries.
In Maine nearly every member Republican Gov. Paul LePage appointed to the advisory committee responsible for designing the state’s exchange has professional ties to the health care industry.
The Colorado Health Exchange Board is also tilted strongly towards the industry. The new nine member board contains several representatives from some of the largest insurance companies in the state.
The Obama administration tried to assure supporters of real health care reform that it was okay when they agreed to strip out nationally run programs that would help protect regular consumers, such as a public option, rating review powers for the HHS or a national exchange. Instead, they argued, the law would create these great new state based exchanges.
As we predicted, it is becoming clear that many of the state exchanges will be little more than opportunities for foxes designing and guarding the hen house. The quality of the consumer protections laws on the books is unimportant if the regulatory structure is controlled by people who don’t want to enforce pro-consumer/patient rules.
This conflict of interest problem will likely only get worse in the coming years as some of the red states that are most hostile to the new law reluctantly start establishing exchanges to avoid having HHS run the exchange in their state.