Health is a Hot Topic in the race for CA Insurance Commissioner, But Power is Limited

The person who wins the four-way race to become California’s next insurance commissioner will inherit a job with broad authority over policies that cover homes, businesses, cars and even airplanes.

But medical insurance? Not so much. The commissioner’s direct control over health insurers is limited, because the California Department of Insurance — headed by the commissioner —regulates only a small slice of the market.

Still, the job carries the power of the bully pulpit, amplifying the commissioner’s voice on matters of regional, statewide and national importance.

The incumbent, Dave Jones, has used that bullhorn frequently to chastise health insurers, blast the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and interject his voice on subjects ranging from prescription drug prices to climate change to women’s reproductive rights. (read more.)