SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

June 29, 2010

Our view: Patrick needs to practice what he preaches

While it loves to preach "transparency," the Patrick administration has taken its time responding to House Minority Leader Brad Jones' request for documents related to its since-overturned decision to cap some health insurance premiums.

Jones, R-North Reading, whose district includes part of Middleton, filed the request early in June after it was revealed that certain members of the administration had expressed misgivings about the decision to block the rates sought by the state's insurers. One leaked e-mail declared the plan had "the potential for catastrophic consequences to our nonprofit health care industry."

While everyone is concerned about the escalating price of those policies, some, including this newspaper, have questioned whether a government takeover of the rate-setting process is the proper response to the problem.

Given inflationary pressures in the health-care market, the insurance companies have maintained they cannot break even with the rates approved by the governor — and have the figures to prove it. (Adding to the administration's angst was a report from the Massachusetts Hospital Association on Friday contending that contrary to yet another Patrick administration report, they're not making much money either.)

There's some merit in Patrick's effort to focus attention on skyrocketing health costs. But there's little merit, as his own insurance appeals board has ruled, in his arbitrary cap on rates; and absolutely none in his refusal to turn over all the public records relating to that decision.

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