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Letters: The right 'Watchdog' for insurers

April 07, 2013

Re "Insurers cry foul as state official hires foe," April 3

I had to chuckle when I read the suggestion by Loyola Law Professor Jessica Levinson that California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones' use of insurance industry critic Consumer Watchdog to review premium hikes "raises serious questions about a conflict of interest." A conflict of interest arises when industry insiders and lobbyists are hired by the public agencies that are supposed to regulate them.

Whether it entails an Elizabeth Warren looking into Wall Street's fraudulent practices or Consumer Watchdog examining price gouging by the health insurance industry, individuals and groups who place the public interest above corporate greed are a prerequisite for good government.

Ernest A. Canning

Thousand Oaks

Forgive me if I don't join Anthem Blue Cross in its outrage over Consumer Watchdog being used to review proposed rate hikes. My Anthem Blue Cross premiums increased five times in less than two years. Thankfully, now I enjoy Kaiser Permanente as an employee benefit.

As businesses and individuals have faced multiple rate hikes from my former insurer, the up to $88,000 for Consumer Watchdog's services is tax money well spent. No wonder those who benefit from the old game are up in arms over "close ties" with a group that promotes consumer interests.

Steven Dornbusch

Los Angeles

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