The Two-Headed Beast: Should California Stop Having Two Health Insurance Regulators?

Representatives from both the healthcare and the insurance industry met with California insurance regulators last week to discuss the future of the overlapping bureaucracies that regulate health insurance in the state.
Currently, California's health insurance industry is regulated by both the California Department of Insurance ('CDOI'), headed by an elected insurance commissioner, and the Department of Managed Health Care ('MHC'), a separate agency under the Governor's office. While the CDOI is charged with regulating traditional health insurance carriers, the MHC regulates HMOs and other managed care programs.

Some suggest that a single agency would be better equipped to serve the public and tackle a maze of new healthcare rules from the federal government.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the 'two regulators enforce different sets of laws and require insurers to provide varying levels of health benefits for consumers. They also are seen as widely different in their dealings with insurers and in their enforcement powers.'

Healthcare lobbyists, insurance industry representatives and regulators met last week in Sacramento to discuss the possibility of combining the two regulatory agencies. From the Los Angeles Times article:
Some suggest that a single agency would be better equipped to serve the public and tackle a maze of new healthcare rules from the federal government. Others say such a move would distract from more pressing issues facing lawmakers and regulators.
California's Deputy Insurance Commissioner Janice Rocco said the event was only the first step in a public conversation about who whill regulate insurers and HMOS in the state, according to the article.

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