Bill Would Strip Calif.’s Ability To Conceal State Health Exchange Records
California Sens. Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) are promoting legislation (SB 332) that would strip authority from the state to conceal certain health insurance exchange records, AP/KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Blood, "KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 5/20).
Bids for government contracts are routinely kept secret until contracts are awarded so that one vendor cannot gain an unfair advantage during the bidding process.
However, California lawmakers have given the exchange board the authority to keep all contracts from being disclosed to the public for one year and to conceal the amounts paid for such contracts indefinitely.
The exchange also can keep private any records related to recommendations or research, among other topics.
According to an AP review of 16 other states that have chosen to run their own health insurance exchanges, California is the most restrictive about what exchange information is required to be made public (California Healthline, 5/9).
Details of Bill
The bill would provide a one-year delay in the release of records for large health plan contracts. It also would allow a three-year delay in the release of rates of pay to large health plans. However, the state Joint Legislative Audit Committee could open such records at any time.
According to the bill, all other contracts would be open to review under state open-record laws, rather than exempted from them.
The bill also would make public any records related to:
- Exchange board meetings;
- Strategy of the exchange board or its staff; and
- Instructions, advice or training for exchange workers ("KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 5/20).