From the Morning Memo:

Concerned over the fallout from the demise of the nation’s largest health insurance co-op, Health Republic, the Senate Republicans will hold a “forum, roundtable or hearing” early next year to determine if legislative action is necessary to help clean up the mess.

“I think it’s certainly something that we need to look at,” said Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Jim Seward during a CapTon interview last night.

Seward stopped short of saying the exact purpose of this hearing would be to determine who’s at fault for Health Republic’s failure, even as some of his GOP colleagues – particularly Rep. Chris Gibson – have suggested the Financial Services Department bears the brunt of the responsibility, and should be the subject of an outside investigation.

The senator did say, however, that he has “issues” with DFS, adding: “It’s their responsibility to make sure that these health plans are financially solvent, and then all of a sudden we find out that Health Republic, there’s no money there.”

“So, I think that’s certainly something we need to look at, in terms of what is the process at the Department of Financial Services to make sure that these health plans are solvent and these claims can be paid,” Seward said.

Seward said he now believes the Cuomo administration is doing a “good job” to ensure that the 200,000 people impacted by Health Republic’s shutdown will be covered by other plans, though he predicted “it’s going to be more expensive for them.”

The senator also said he has “great concerns” about whether providers who have rendered service to Health Republic subscribers are going to be paid, and is worried about the fact that he has not yet seen a plan for making local doctors and hospitals whole.

Seward said he would be holding his hearing in conjunction with Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon sometime in early January, though a specific date has not yet been set.

The two Republicans sent a letter to DFS and the Health Department earlier this month expressing their “grave concern” over the Health Republic debacle.