California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who authored the state’s version of “Medicare for All,” is under fire after journalists exposed that he has been taking campaign contributions from the insurance industry, breaking a key pledge.
Lara, then a State Senator from Bell Gardens, proposed the “Healthy California Act” in 2017. The bill would have created a state-run health insurance system for all Californians, “replacing the state’s private health insurance industry with government-managed insurance,” according to economist Robert Pollin, writing in the Los Angeles Times at the time.
The bill passed the State Senate but was blocked by State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles), who noted that the bill had no proposal to pay the $400 billion annual price tag of the new policy.
Now, Calmatters notes (citing the San Diego Union-Tribune):
[Lara]’s been hammered by a series of journalistic revelations, mostly in the San Diego Union-Tribune, about how he has indirectly reneged on a campaign promise not to accept campaign contributions from insurance industry sources.
Union-Tribune reporter Jeff McDonald wrote that Lara’s office “intervened in at least four proceedings involving a company with ties to insurance executives and their spouses who donated tens of thousands of dollars to his re-election campaign, records show.”
Lara has reportedly promised to return the money, Calmatters notes.
Lara defeated former commissioner Steve Pozner in the 2018 election. Poizner ran as an independent, but was once a Republican.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.