Insurance commissioners: Health care startup may bring 'chaos'
President Obama may need to delay his health care overhaul or risk “chaos” when subsidized insurance plans go on sale in October, the head of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said.
It's unclear how well the new system will perform on Oct. 1, when millions of Americans are supposed to begin shopping at online markets created by the law, said Jim Donelon, the NAIC's president. While the administration has shown no sign of seeking a delay, it may be in the president's best interest, he said.
“It's his calling-card, signature issue and to rush it into implementation before it's ready would not be in his overall interest,” said Donelon, Louisiana's insurance commissioner. State officials around the country “don't want it to create chaos.”
The Obama administration and 18 states are preparing to establish the insurance markets, a centerpiece of the 2010 law designed to extend coverage to millions of uninsured people. The association, which represents state regulators, on Tuesday named former Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska as its chief executive officer.
“We needed the gravitas, the phone calls returned, to go to Capitol Hill, to tell our story, defend our turf, and beyond, protect and promote our system around the world,” Donelon said.
State regulators are contending with the Federal Insurance Office created by the Dodd-Frank law, expanded U.S. involvement in health insurance and European efforts to regulate capital known as Solvency II. State regulation has served consumers and insurers well and deserves to be defended, Nelson, 71, said.
“To impose their standard solvency regulation I think is a mistake, and I hope to work to try to convince them of that,” he said. “It isn't broken, so we're not going to let them fix it.”
A former insurance industry executive, Nelson provided the 60th vote to help push Obama's Affordable Care Act through the Senate.
Eighteen states are building exchanges that will let uninsured residents buy medical plans starting in October. People who don't get insurance through their employers would use the exchanges to select coverage from private insurers, often with taxpayer-subsidized premiums.
Some states are revamping Medicaid programs for the poor by broadening eligibility rules. Congressional budget projections show that more than half of the 30 million uninsured targeted by the law will eventually buy subsidized plans through the state exchanges, and at least 11 million others will become eligible for state-run Medicaid coverage.
The government is giving states that run their own exchanges a share of about $2 billion to help get them started. The remainder of the states will let the United States run the exchanges or choose to provide services such as consumer assistance in a partnership with the federal government.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rise in pickup truck sales a good sign for economy
- Auto sales heat up in July on steep discounts
- Fix-a-flat a remedy in a pinch
- Auto review: Maserati Ghibli a sedan that awakens the senses
- Towing standard finally set
- Auto review: Grand Cherokee goes the distance
- Westinghouse wins deal to build nuclear power plant in Bulgaria
- Unemployment rate ticks up; 209K jobs added but less than expected
- Hyundai recalls over 419K vehicles
- HP to pay $32.5M to settle Postal Service dispute
- SEC closes probe of Citi mortgage bonds