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Jun 14, 2004 - 02:20 PM
Will Arnold Listen To State's Largest Health Care Purchaser?by Jamie Court
The California Public Employees Retirement System or CALPERS, the largest purchaser of health care in the state, announced today it would oppose the acquisition of Wellpoint Health Systems by Anthem Inc. based on revelations last week that executives could take home more than $600 million in the deal. CALPERS holds more than 1.3 million shares of stock in both Anthem and Wellpoint.
CALPERS also asked today that Arnold's Department of Managed Health Care "hold a hearing immediately to determine whether this excessive compensation violates the Knox Keene Act." That's a plea Arnold has ignored from consumer advocates, doctors and legislators for months - breaking an open government tradition begun by Gov. Pete Wilson in such mergers and siding rather with the privacy rights of Wellpoint and its executives, who are $92,400 donors to the Guv. Earlier today, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights sent another letter to Arnold's HMO regulator reiterating a request for a public hearing that FTCR first made in November. Read the letter at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/rp/rp004365.pdf.
Can Arnold afford to continue to block out the sunlight now that CALPERS has spoken? Stay tuned...
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