Pay To Play? New York Dem Gov Andrew Cuomo’s Donors Get A Big Break From State Insurance Regulators

New York’s Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing criticism amid new reports that a healthcare company whose officials were major donors to his campaign was allowed to issue a massive insurance rate increase. The Albany Times-Union reported that Crystal Run, whose executives, doctors and their spouses have given at least $400,000 to Cuomo since 2011, was allowed by state regulators to issue a rate increase of “80.5 percent for individual plans and 58.5 percent” for small group plans. The next highest approved increase for individual plans approved by regulators for another company was 29.2 percent. This raises serious questions for Cuomo, who has, along with his aides, been accused of “pay to play” schemes. Cuomo owes the people of New York an answer for why a company run by some of his major donors was allowed to hike insurance rates for individual plans by more than twice as much as the next company was allowed to.

The Albany Times-Union reports:

“A company whose officials have been major donors to Gov. Andrew Cuomo – and which received an unusual $25 million state grant for projects it was already building – also was allowed by state insurance regulators to issue a huge rate increase for plans sold by its health care company.

For 2017, the Department of Financial Services – which must approve rate increases for companies on the New York Affordable Care Act market – allowed Crystal Run Health Plan to increase its rates by 80.5 percent for individual plans and 58.5 percent for small group plans.

That was the highest in both categories by far for any non-Crystal Run company, with the next highest increase approved by DFS for individual plans 29.2 percent. The approved rates were announced by DFS in August 2016.

Crystal Run executives, doctors or their spouses have given at least $400,000 to Cuomo, including 10 donations each worth $25,000 over a two-day period in October 2013. A Cuomo campaign spokesman has said the donations stemmed from a fundraiser. Seven of the donors had otherwise not given in a New York election for at least a decade.”