With the news that Robert Rainville, a former West Warwick Probate Judge, might run for the Democratic nomination, the hiring of staff by Peter Kilmartin and the release of some early fundraising numbers, the 2010 campaign for Rhode Island Attorney General has certainly heated up!
One of these candidates, Steve Archambault, today called on Health Commissioner Christopher Koller to reject Blue Cross’ proposed rate increases for their health insurance plans.
Pointing to a recent study released by Koller’s office that ranks Blue Cross’ Administrative expenses higher than the average in New England, Archambault called on Koller to send Blue Cross “back to the drawing board.”
“These are difficult economic times. Too many Rhode Island families are already at the breaking point and both small and large businesses are struggling to stay afloat. These proposed rate increases are simply unaffordable. The Health Commissioner should send Blue Cross back to the drawing board and demand that they cut administrative expenses and seek other efficiencies first before asking for rate hikes,” Archambault said.
In a letter to Commissioner Koller, Archambault also called for additional public hearings on the proposed 10.2% increase in direct-pay plans – the plan rate increase that is currently before the commissioner. Direct-pay plans are purchased by Rhode Islanders who do not receive health care from their employer or other group. Archambault noted that the recommendation of an independent consultant retained by the Attorney General’s office to allow an increase of 9.5% increase in direct pay plans was still too high.
“Rhode Island families are facing the most difficult economic situation in at least a generation. There must be a new emphasis on cost-savings. All Blue Cross expenses, including top executive salaries, should receive strict scrutiny,” he said.
Archambault’s criticism comes on the heels of his first issue-based release: fighting the drinking and driving problem in Rhode Island.