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Obama Met With State Insurance Commissioners

From Reuters:

Insurance commissioners raise concerns about healthcare fix with Obama

By Roberta Rampton and Lewis Krauskopf | November 20, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – State insurance commissioners told President Barack Obama on Wednesday that his effort to stem a wave of insurance cancellations caused by his signature healthcare law could lead to higher premiums.

Come on. These insurance companies should absorb all of these billions of dollars in costs it will take to change back for a year, to save the Democrats’ bacon in 2014. Aren’t they team players?

Obama met with representatives from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to discuss the "fix" he came up with last week to calm the uproar surrounding millions of cancellation notices sent to holders of individual health insurance policies no longer legal under the healthcare law, known as Obamacare…

The insurance market in the United States is heavily regulated at the state level. While individual state commissioners have no legal obligation to go along with Obama’s wishes, the White House move effectively put the onus on them for cancellations caused by the administration’s law.

Which raises the question:  how could all of these bad apple insurers offer sub-standard plans when insurance is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country? (Hint: these plans weren’t sub-standard. Obama lied.)

Comments after the meeting reflected continued skepticism by some of the commissioners…

In a statement, the group "stressed their concern that different rules for different policies would be detrimental to the overall insurance marketplace and could result in higher premiums for consumers, without addressing the underlying concern of gaps in coverage." …

Insurance commissioners from Connecticut and North Carolina also attended the meeting along with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, White House domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz, healthcare adviser Chris Jennings, and White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. The meeting lasted about 50 minutes…

Gee, Obama gave them almost an hour of his time. How gracious of him.

Obama’s decision to allow an extension requires each state to examine whether it can do so under existing laws.

Why should they worry about following the law? Obama doesn’t.

Reuters checks have found that at least nine states, including Florida and Ohio, have said they will act on Obama’s offer to allow insurers to extend existing policies. But at least four others, including Washington and Massachusetts, do not plan to not implement the fix…

If that trend continues, about half the country is going to be out of luck getting their old plans back — at any price.

Representatives from the NAIC told reporters after the White House meeting that they did not think the president was trying to pressure them to go along with his fix and recognized the difference among state insurance markets.

"He made it clear to us that he really understands the value of state-based regulation," said Thomas Leonardi, Connecticut’s insurance commissioner. "It wasn’t the president trying to persuade us or trying to stiff-arm us or anything like that. He was wanting to make the point that he gets what our value is and how can he help."

Donelon told reporters the NAIC would not be advocating for or against Obama’s fix…

Of course, they had to say things like this. They don’t want to be fired like the DC insurance commissioner who criticized the fix. And they don’t want to be sued by the DOJ. Or audited by the IRS.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, November 21st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Obama Met With State Insurance Commissioners”

  1. canary

    Word is he’s furious and blaming insurance companies for cancelling their insured.

    He’s probably threatening them the clause in the ACA that says the exchanges and insurance companies will be paid by the federal govt for any monetary shortages can be changed by a simple “Pelosi click click” during the middle of the night or day time for that matter.

    The computer site glitch has cost the exchanges and insurance companies to lose a fortune and so threatening not to pay can really put the pressure to take their time in cancelling people’s policies.


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