Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s top insurance regulator, Katharine Wade, agreed to recuse herself from her state’s review of a massive healthcare merger between Anthem and Cigna, amid mounting criticism of her ties to Cigna. Wade had been leading a multistate review of the deal, which critics say could raise insurance premiums for 53 million Americans across the country. The recusal announcement came from Wade’s attorney during a meeting of the Office of State Ethics, which has been investigating the situation.
The merger between Anthem and Cigna appeared to be moving forward for months, but was thrown into turmoil after a months-long International Business Times investigative series into Wade and Malloy’s ties to Cigna. That series prompted a state ethics probe — and soon after the Department of Justice sued to block the merger.
As IBT’s series documented, Cigna and Anthem pumped campaign cash into the Democratic Governors Association — which is run by Malloy — at the very time they were pursuing their merger. While the cash flowed into the group, Malloy appointed Wade to head his state’s insurance department. She had served as an in-house lobbyist for Cigna, is married to a Cigna attorney and is the daughter-in-law of another attorney listed as representing the company. Malloy’s administration also promised to help Cigna if it pursued the merger.
Even by the standards of Connecticut politics, (The state is pretty much a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry) this was pretty brazen.