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It's Politics: More Dirt and Ironing in the AB 52 Battle

In these pages last week, we looked at recent attack ads against Sen. Ed Hernandez over his position on Assembly Bill 52, a bill that would mandate state regulation of health insurance rates.

We talked to Consumer Watchdog, the group that paid for the television ads and is demanding Hernandez step down from his chair of the Senate Health Committee over what they cite as a conflict of interest.

Hernandez, who objected to provisions of the bill, rents office space in Baldwin Park to insurance giant Kaiser Permanente, which fought the measure.

Consumer Groups Get Health Grants

A portion of federal grants to help states monitor rate hikes will be going to consumer advocacy groups that regularly pick fights with insurers - and the insurance industry is calling foul.

Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $109 million in grants to 28 states and Washington, D.C., to strengthen their review process of proposed hikes. It marked the second round of rate review funds under the health care reform law, after HHS sent out $46 million to 45 states and the
District of Columbia.

What Do You Think About Our New Television Advertisement About CA Senator Ed Hernandez?

Consumer Watchdog is running this TV ad in the district of CA State Senator Ed Hernandez after the revelation that he has received more than $350,000 from the states' largest health care plan, Kaiser, while chairing the CA Senate Health Committee. The video shows his insensitivity to a constituent who could not afford his health insurance during a recent hearing.


Rude Awakening

K Street is buzzing over the shock and awe tactics Consumer Watchdog used this morning when its members showed up at Google's Director of Public Policy Pablo Chavez's house at 8:30 a.m.

The California-based group arrived at Chavez's home in an ice cream truck - part of another stunt the group did giving out "free" ice cream and info on Google's online and mobile tracking.

How did they find Chavez's digs? Simpson said, it was simple. "We Googled him and got all our info on how to go to his house on the Internet.