Announces Opposition to Elimination of Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner
PROVIDENCE— Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts today issued the following statement regarding the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner’s rejection of proposed rate factor increases from health insurers, and the budget proposal approved yesterday in the House Finance Committee to eliminate the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner.
“I applaud the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner for heeding the clear message sent by Rhode Island employees and employers that we can not afford this rate hike. Today I am calling on Rhode Island’s health insurers to withdraw their rate factor proposal until all of the stakeholders can sit down and agree on a plan to control health care costs for all Rhode Island businesses and families.
“When this rate filing was first announced, I stood with business leaders to call on the Commissioner to reject the proposed increases. Today’s ruling by the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner provides crucial protection against escalating costs to Rhode Island businesses and families at a time when they are most economically distressed.
“A strong health insurance regulator with clearly defined powers of oversight is critical to assuring a Rhode Island health care system that is affordable and meets the needs of all Rhode Islanders. Unfortunately, the budget approved yesterday by the House Finance Committee would eliminate the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner and its oversight authority and powers.
“Without the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner, Rhode Islanders would have been left in the dark about the proposed health insurance rate hikes that were rejected today. Without the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner, we would not be announcing new hope for health care reform today. Rather, we would be facing yet another double-digit health insurance rate hike. In the next few days, my office will be joining with business leaders, health care consumers and providers, and other leaders in the health reform debate to urge the General Assembly to maintain the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner.”