The California Public
Employees Retirement System or CALPERS, the largest purchaser of health
care in the state, announced today it would oppose the acquisition of
Wellpoint Health Systems by Anthem Inc. based on revelations last week
that executives could take home more than $600 million in the deal.
CALPERS holds more than 1.3 million shares of stock in both Anthem and
CALPERS also asked today that Arnold's Department of Managed Health
Care "hold a hearing immediately to determine whether this excessive
compensation violates the Knox Keene Act." That's a plea Arnold has
ignored from consumer advocates, doctors and legislators for months -
breaking an open government tradition begun by Gov. Pete Wilson in such
mergers and siding rather with the privacy rights of Wellpoint and its
executives, who are $92,400 donors to the Guv. Earlier today, the
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights sent another letter to
Arnold's HMO regulator reiterating a request for a public hearing that
FTCR first made in November. Read the letter at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/rp/rp004365.pdf.
Can Arnold afford to continue to block out the sunlight now that CALPERS has spoken? Stay tuned...