House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. today sent a letter to Governor Patrick in the wake of media outlets reporting that a member of his administration advised against setting caps on health insurance premiums.
Below is the letter in its entirety.
June 10, 2010
His Excellency Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
State House, Room 360
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Governor Patrick:
Rising health care costs have long captivated the attention of policy makers, and people across the country and the Commonwealth. As our leaders in Washington debated what we knew from experience to be a very complex issue, health care reform was front page news in any given city or town. Given the current economic climate, struggling families and small businesses need to know state government is on their side. Unfortunately, a number of recent media reports suggests otherwise.
After three years in office during which insurance rates continually increased, your Administration has decided to cap or limit insurers’ rates of increase. While the political attractiveness of this policy decision is readily apparent, various media outlets are reporting that a member of your Administration indicated your plan to put caps on health care premiums would create “the potential for catastrophic consequences to our nonprofit health care industry.” Thus, the potential short-term benefits would be replaced by serious long-term consequences that could easily hurt the very same people you are purportedly seeking to help. It is my fear that putting such draconian regulations on our nonprofit health care industry will lead to a reduction in those covered and could potentially drive companies out of the state.
Despite this warning from a high ranking state insurance official, you decided to proceed with your plan, seemingly regardless of the potential negative effects. What is particularly worrisome is the lack of transparency regarding the process you used to determine that capping premium rates was good public policy – particularly since, despite having the authority, your Administration has never before pursued such a policy.
For this reason, I am asking that your Administration make public any and all documents and correspondence relative to this decision. We have a duty to prove to the Commonwealth that this decision was made for the right reasons. If the decision you made is indeed the best policy for the consumers in Massachusetts, I have no doubt that the requested documents will support that claim.
Given the potential ramification of this new policy, I believe your willingness to comply with this modest request is more important than ever. If we, as a Commonwealth, are to impose such stringent regulations, then we must provide the rationale behind our decision to do so. It is critical during such difficult economic times that such a major policy decision is made in an open and transparent manner.
I want to thank you for your consideration of my request.
Bradley H. Jones, Jr.
House Minority Leader