CALIFORNIA: SENATE COMMITTEE DELAYS VOTE ON HMO REGULATOR
The state Senate Rules Committee chose to delay aThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
confirmation vote on acting state Commissioner of Corporations
Keith Bishop after Gov. Pete Wilson (R) "unexpectedly named a
health care ombudsman, meeting a key demand of opponents," LOS
ANGELES TIMES reports. The panel was expected to reject Bishop
as a regulator, in part because of complaints from patient
advocacy groups that he has demonstrated "a pro-industry bias"
and has not pursued "alleged violations and consumer complaints."
According to Senate President Pro Tem and Rules Committee Chair
Bill Lockyer (D), the committee would have probably rejected
Bishop because he "had been 'inadequate in the oversight and
regulation of HMOs.'" Lockyer added that rejecting Bishop's
confirmation "seems to be the only way we can ever get the
TOO LITTLE...: Bishop recently made a "display of
regulatory toughness" by releasing a "scathing" report "alleging
widespread abuses by Western Dental Services, one of the biggest
dental HMOs in the state." However, the decision to delay the
vote on Bishop did not come until immediately after Gov. Wilson
announced that Joseph Parra, currently an aide to Bishop, had
been appointed to the position of ombudsman. The delay in
filling the position had been "an issue for Democrats."
According to Lockyer, the appointment is "a sign of movement on
their part to do something about the deterioration of the quality
of care for enrollees in health plans." A spokesperson for Gov.
Wilson denied that the timing was intended to save Bishop's
confirmation, saying, "The timing has everything to do with
protecting Californians. The fact that the appointment was made
today should not be given significant bearing." The vote on
Bishop's confirmation is now scheduled for Thursday (Ingram,