Bill Granting Insurance Commissioner Greater Powers Falls to Industry Opposition

Jeffrey ErnstFriedman | January 19, 2011

Jan. 19, 2011 - SFGate ran an editorial on Tuesday entitled "Review Blue Shield's unhealthy rate increases." The article questions why, with a national rate of inflation at only 1.5 percent in 2010, Blue Shield has felt justified to raise its rates 59 percent.

As the article points out, AB 2578, introduced in the 2009-2010 session of the California State Legislature, would have granted the insurance commissioner more powers to block excessive rate increases, but became "a victim of industry lobbying, like so many other good bills that fall by the wayside in Sacramento."

Leveraging's support and opposition research, we found that senators voting against final passage on August 31, 2010 received an average of $51,151 from interest groups opposing the bill over a four year period. Accident and health insurance interest groups alone contributed close to 3.5 times more to senators voting against passage ($28,149) compared to those voting in favor of passage ($8,211) during the same time frame.

  • Click here to find more support and opposition research on AB 2578.
  • Use the contributions search tool to see which lawmakers received a portion of the over $1.3 million in campaign funding from Blue Shield and Blue Cross and their employees since 2003.

Asm. Mike Feuer has introduced similar legislation (AB 52) in the 2011 session.

Includes reported contributions to campaigns of senators in office on day of vote, from interest groups invested in the vote according to, October 17, 2006 – October 16, 2010. Contributions data source: