Don’t we get a hearing?

As you may know, our local health insurance giant (not to be confused with our local health *care* giant) would like to merge with its Eastern PA counterpart and form one giant mega-insurer that would stretch across PA. Purely non-profit, of course. They promise not to go for-profit. And they definitely wouldn’t have a major effect on health care prices in Pittsburgh.

Of course, when anything big like this happens, someone is going to hold hearings. We happen to have a high-ranking Senator on the Judiciary committee, and he held a very nice hearing in Philadelphia, where he heard from locals and statewide commentators about the impact of the merger on Philly’s health care.

I’ve met Mr. Specter on several occasions, and he strikes me as a pretty smart guy, so I’m wondering: has someone on his staff forgotten that there’s another major city that stands to lose big time if two giants merge and use near-monopoly power to raise insurance rates? It seems to me that Western Pennsylvanians deserve our chance at the microphone. Where’s *our* hearing?

(Credit due to my neighbor two floors up, who noticed the unfairness and is circulating a petition to try to get our Federal dignitaries to hold a second hearing here in Pgh. It’d be nice if some of our local citizens’ groups were doing the same…)

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