Covered California Board Meetings feature a great deal of public comment from so-called “stakeholders”. The idea is that any interested citizen can come to the microphone for up to 2 minutes and give their views on any issue the board may be considering. I applaud Covered California sincere effort toward transparency. The September board meeting had a great example of this. A small-business owner traveled from San Francisco to the meeting in Sacramento to deliver a very personal and articulate pitch for choice and affordability in the SHOP Exchange qualified plans.
Most of the other commenters are representatives of special interest groups, some representing very small slices of the demographic. They are paid to show up and be seen pressing the group’s agenda. Let’s be clear, they are wasting time that could be much better spent on the decision making process and we need to make some room for people with something to say - like that lady from San Francisco. Ruthless enforcement of the 2-minute rule helps, but I’ll suggest a further restriction. They get to share 2 minutes only once per meeting. They get to pick one issue per meeting on which they absolutely must comment.. Of course, an exception should be made for Beth Capell Health Access. She speaks for a much broader constituency - the Covered California customer. But why do I always feel that she wants to rap my knuckles with a ruler?