Politician wants to grab insurer’s profits – WSJ

An opinion column alleges governor “demanded” that insurer hand over $300 million to the government

Politician wants to grab insurer’s profits – WSJ

Insurance News

By Allie Sanchez

New Jersey governor Chris Christie is reportedly locking horns with insurer Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield because he wants the firm to foot the bill for the state’s substance abuse rehabilitation programmes.

A media report has alleged that the governor proposed a “coercive bill” that he hopes will twist the insurer’s arm into giving up $300 million of its cash reserves to the government.

An opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal said that the governor “demanded” that the insurer hand over the cash to finance a “slate of anti-drug programs” and accused him of turning these “admirable goals into an Elizabeth Warren-style antibusiness shakedown.”

The report said that “heroin overdose rates (are) more than double the national average in 2015.”

Specifically, the op-ed piece alleged that Christie wants to put four government appointive seats on Horizon’s board, and that the government be allowed to assess the insurer’s reserves and put any “excess surplus” into a “New Jersey Quality Health and Wellness Fund.”
The author also said that the bill “would require Horizon to post executive salaries and bonuses online.”

“Horizon’s 3.8 million members might not be hot on the idea, especially when shrinking reserves lead to higher insurance premiums,” the opinion piece continues. “The company estimates that a $300 million heist would raise premiums for a family of four by an average $1,744 a year, though some could face an even higher bill.”

“Reversing the wasted human potential that is heroin use is commendable, but even the Democrats who control state legislature appear sceptical of Mr. Christie’s extortion. One Elizabeth Warren is more than enough,” the opinion writer concluded.

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