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Letter to the Editor: State Senate Favors Insurance Lobbyists

Maralyn O'Brien disturbed by legislation that recently passed the Michigan Senate that could remove regulatory controls over premium rate increases by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Dear Editor, 

I’m disturbed by legislation that recently passed the Michigan Senate that would effectively remove all regulatory controls over premium rate increases by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Insurance premiums are already high enough in this state without making it even easier for a monopoly like BCBSM to jack up rates. 

Everyone should be very concerned in that BCBSM already controls 70% of the insurance market in this state. On top of that, BCBSM is being sold to a mutual insurance company by the same name that will have no charitable mission to keep costs low. But despite the obvious dangers in deregulating such a monopoly, the Michigan Senate rammed through this ill-conceived idea just four weeks after it was proposed. Where was the public deliberation? 

This new law will mean that BCBSM’s premium rate increases will no longer be subject to Attorney General oversight. BCBSM need now just inform the state of its intension to raise rates under “file and use” provisions and the rates increases automatically go into effect. 

Why do I have a feeling the Michigan Senate cares a whole lot more about taking care of BCBSM lobbyists than the public interest? 

Sincerely, 

Maralyn O'Brien 

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