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Bipartisan Group of Legislators Call on Commissioner Cunningham to Ensure Transparency, Accountability in Anthem-Cigna, Aetna-Humana Mergers

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Anyone who believes that government needs to be transparent, open and accountable should strongly support the following statement. It’s particularly important when we’re talking about a huge potential deal like this, a merger between Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana, that could potentially reduce health care competition and adversely impact millions of Virginians. If you agree, please sign the petition at this link. Thanks.

Bipartisan Group of Legislators Call on Commissioner Cunningham to Ensure Transparency, Accountability in Anthem-Cigna, Aetna-Humana Mergers

Cite concern over possible diminished health care options, affordability, and quality 

RICHMOND – Today, the Virginia Campaign for Consumer Choice announced twelve state elected officials, from both sides of the aisle, are calling on Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline Cunningham to hear the voices of consumers across Virginia on the effects of proposed mergers of Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana on options, affordability, and quality.

Through a letter sent to the Commissioner’s office on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, a dozen elected officials, from both sides of the aisle, outlined clear steps to ensure the pending mergers receive a full, fair, and rigorous public review process.

The letter, which is attached, calls for specific actions to inform and protect health care options for all Virginians, including: inviting a panel of experts on provider and consumer interests to share their findings and help educate consumers on the process, allowing consumers to have intervener status or allow questions to be submitted from the public, setting aside time for the general public to voice questions or concerns with the mergers as well as holding the hearings at a time and place conducive to the widest possible public participation, including evening hours.

“I’m proud to be a part of this effort to bring greater public transparency and accountability to the mergers of Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana in Virginia. The way the mergers are evaluated will determine whether or not consumers are prepared for the possible impacts of these changes in the marketplace.” – Delegate Alfonso Lopez

Signatories of the letter are below:

  • Senator Frank Wagner, 7thDistrict – Republican representing Virginia Beach and Norfolk
  • Delegate Sam Rasoul, 11th District – Democrat representing part of the City of Roanoke
  • Senator Louise Lucas, 18thDistrict – Democrat representing part of Brunswick County, Greensville County, part of Isle of Wight County, part of Southampton County, part of Surry County, and Sussex County, as well as part of Chesapeake, Emporia, part of Franklin, part of Portsmouth, and part of Suffolk
  • Senator Adam Ebbin, 30thDistrict – Democrat representing portions of the City of Alexandria, Arlington County and Fairfax County
  • Delegate Mark Keam, 35thDistrict – Democrat representing a portion of Fairfax County, including the town of Vienna
  • Senator Scott Surovell, 36thDistrict – Democrat representing portions of Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford counties
  • Delegate Kaye Kory, 38thDistrict – Democrat representing portions of Fairfax County
  • Delegate Mark Levine, 45thDistrict – Democrat representing the eastern half of the City of Alexandria, parts of South Arlington, and the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County
  • Delegate Alfonso Lopez, 49thDistrict – Democrat representing parts of southern Arlington and eastern Fairfax Counties
  • Delegate Lamont Bagby, 74thDistrict – Democrat representing Charles City County, parts of Henrico County and the City of Richmond
  • Delegate Jennifer Boysko, 86thDistrict – Democrat representing parts of Fairfax and Loudon counties
  • Delegate Marcia Price, 95thDistrict – Democrat representing parts of Newport News and Hampton

The Virginia Campaign for Consumer Choice, which launched April 14th, brings together supporters demanding that the pending mergers are subject to a public review process and accountable to the consumers who could be impacted by the changes. Virginians who could risk losing consumer choice and face rising costs deserve to be informed and involved in this critical decision.

The campaign is not the first time concerns have been raised among consumer advocates on these mergers. In January, advocates across the state submitted a letter to Commissioner Cunningham detailing the request for increased transparency, public input and consumer safeguards.

P.S. Here are a few more quotes, From Senator Scott Surovell; Delegates Kaye Kory and Mark Levine:

  • “I thank the Virginia Campaign for Consumer Choice for bringing concerns about the proposed health insurance merger to the public. Transparency and accessibility are key to responsible governing.  As legislators, we must be watchdogs protecting the interests of all Virginians. I join my colleagues and the Campaign for Consumer Choice in calling for an open decision-making process in this merger,a process which will allow all voices to be heard. I cannot let a major health insurance policy decision like this to be made in any way other than in blinding sunlight.” — Delegate Kaye Kory
  • “So long as the State Corporation Commission is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, it is important that these decisions are made with maximum opportunity for public input and transparency and I hope that they will hold public hearings.” — Senator Scott Surovell
  • “Health insurance choices are often opaque and difficult for consumers to completely understand. And the detailed public costs and benefits of a merger, even more so. Hopefully our letter will encourage the Virginia State Corporation Commission to fully involve both experts and the general public in the process, to ensure the best and most affordable options will be available for Virginia’s employers and consumers of health care.” — Delegate Mark Levine