Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Bill seeks to reduce health care exchange secrecy

 

SACRAMENTO — A state legislative committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would require California’s health insurance exchange to make more contract information publicly available, even as advocates for open government urged lawmakers to go further.

The Senate Health Committee voted 9-0 to pass the legislation by Republican Sen. Bill Emmerson and Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier. They introduced the bill, SB332, after a story by The Associated Press revealed the unique degree of privacy granted to Covered California, as the exchange is called.

When lawmakers created California’s health insurance exchange in 2010 under the federal Affordable Care Act, they gave it the authority to conceal contracts for a year and the amounts paid indefinitely.

Under the bill, only contracts with health insurance plans could be withheld for a year. Payment details in those contracts would be private for four years.

The updated disclosure rules were modeled on those used by the state’s Healthy Families program.

Government transparency advocates say contract details should be disclosed once the agreements are final, noting the tens of millions of dollars that will flow to private companies.

“There’s a need for confidentially up to the point where the agreement is entered into,” Peter Scheer, executive director of the San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition, said in an interview Wednesday. “Then all the material information needs to be made public unless there’s some really compelling reason not to.”

Under current rules, exchange officials can keep secret board meeting minutes, employee training materials and records that reveal recommendations, research or strategy. SB332 also seeks to reverse those restrictions.

California Common Cause and Health Access California are backing the changes, which representatives say would help ensure that Californians know how the exchange is being managed.

An AP survey of the 16 other states that have opted for state-run marketplaces showed that the California agency was given powers that are the most restrictive in what information is required to be made public.

Five Republican U.S. senators have asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether California is inappropriately concealing details of how it is spending federal dollars for building and running the insurance exchange.

Exchange officials “have so far complied with the public’s request for information,” Emmerson said. “Regardless, this bill is necessary to guarantee transparency in the upcoming years.”

Covered California plans to spend nearly $458 million on outside vendors by the end of 2014, covering lawyers, consultants, public relations advisers and other functions. Exchange spokesman Dana Howard has said the agency complies with state law.

In response to a previous AP public records request, the agency released information on a dozen competitively bid contracts issued since early 2011. They included $14 million for a contract with Ogilvy Public Relations for marketing and $327 million for a five-year deal with consulting giant Accenture to develop a web portal and enrollment system.

SB332 now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

‘Same Time, Next Year’ opens in Benicia

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘We Got Next’ Comedy Tour stops at Dimitri’s

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Man to stand trial in rural Vacaville killing

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Puppies to take part in Vallejo dog show

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Family matriarch celebrates 100th birthday

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Barbecue brings big crowd, progress to Parkway Gardens

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Afisivalu announces run for Fairfield council

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Tonnesen seeks Fairfield City Council seat

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Assist-A-Grad wraps up interviews

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Night closures possible at Merchant Street ramp

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Napa County bridge to close for work

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Town hall on crime set in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Crash shuts I-80 offramp to Highway 12

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Weather for April 18, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
Suisun City police log: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Putin’s choice of words shed light on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Who gained, and what, at Ukraine talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Ukrainian unity on display with peaceful rallies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Salmon released in California river restoration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Jury convicts husband in Iraqi woman’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
1 dead, 1 injured in California boating accident

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

BART fined $210,000 for worker deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Military shell prompted evacuation of hundreds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California health care sign-ups exceed projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Dirty creek, old purse solve four-decade mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Holder: Hate crimes ‘an affront to who we are’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3 1/2 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Chelsea Clinton expecting first child this fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Samples collected from oil slick not from plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

S. Sudan: 12 die after mob attacks UN base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Peru volcano prompts evacuation of 4,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Nigeria: Fate of 115 abducted girls unknown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Confused, chaotic scene described on sinking ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons for April 18, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Food brings back fond memories

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

Is Jeb Bush too old school for the new GOP?

By Doyle Mcmanus | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Internationally out of touch

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

Watch out for grandson scam

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Why so much spent to find a plane?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for April 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for April 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B13

 
My husband tells our sons that they don’t need to listen to me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B13

.

Entertainment

 
Week in preview April 18-24, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Review: ‘Heaven Is for Real’ heartfelt but dull

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Lost radio program featuring Hank Williams found

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

‘Real Housewives’ TV star faces battery charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Ill, hospitalized Miley Cyrus postpones more shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Short-handed SCAC girls ‘gut out’ all-star win over MEL

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Sharks beat Kings 6-3 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Dodgers get to Bumgarner early for win over Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Badminton update: Rodriguez, Armijo head toward post season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7 | Gallery

MEL boys roll to easy win over SCAC

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Shumenov gets big chance in ring against ageless Hopkins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Montreal team sign Chad Johnson to 2-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Seattle 1B Choi banned 50 games for positive test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Dodgers’ Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Miguel Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Sponsorship woes put Swan Racing future in doubt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Ex-quarterback McNabb spends day in Arizona jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Season wrapup: Sacramento Kings’ ‘new era’ off to slow start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Clippers-Warriors series billed as must-see TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Kuchar builds on Masters momentum, shares Heritage lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

War of words in Northwestern-athletes’ union fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Boston Marathon makes room for more runners

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Stanford takes lead at LPGA LOTTE tournament

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Vanden clinches at least share of SCAC boys tennis title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Toyota Camry gets a top-to-bottom makeover

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Hot models at this year’s New York Auto Show

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Judge won’t order recalled GM cars to be parked

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Walmart jumps into the money transfer biz, loudly

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13