Washington State insurance commissioner disagrees with President Obama
President Obama (D) conceded Thursday, "Because I'm such a nice guy if you like your bad apple insurance policy/doctor you can keep your bad apple insurance policy/doctor...for another year. But then you'll have to purchase my so much better policy with important coverage you don't want or need, with higher deductibles and higher premiums. It's important that we're honest and straight forward"...yada, yada, yada.
Not so fast! Apparently the president can't change laws at the snap of his fingers. There are laws about that. Something called Congress probably has some say in the matter. And insurance companies can't just come to a screeching halt, spin, turn around and pick up what they were compelled by law to drop. They also have to cope with boring stuff like state regulations, plan and replan rates, and do the logistics such as reprogramming their uhm...websites. All of this takes time.
And so Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is ignoring the president's directive; he is "staying the course" and not allowing insurance companies to extend their policies according to the press release he sent out immediately after Obama's press conference.
OLYMPIA, Wash. - "We have worked for three years to implement the Affordable Care Act in a way that works best for Washingtonians. One goal of our efforts has been to build a stable, fair and competitive individual health insurance market."
I know that many people who buy their own health insurance have struggled to keep their coverage. That is why we have worked so hard to make these significant changes. We have brought meaningful benefits to this market that the rest of us with employer-sponsored health plans have enjoyed for years; benefits like prescription drug coverage, maternity care, and reasonable limits on out-of-pocket costs. Our state-based Exchange - Wahealthplanfinder.org - is up and running and successfully enrolling thousands of consumers.
I understand that many people are upset by the notices they have recently received from their health plans and they may not need the new benefits today. But I have serious concerns about how President Obama's proposal would be implemented and more significantly, its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market.
I do not believe his proposal is a good deal for the state of Washington. In the interest of keeping the consumer protections we have enacted and ensuring that we keep health insurance costs down for all consumers, we are staying the course. We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies. I believe this is in the best interest of the health insurance market in Washington.
Oh, by the way, Commissioner Kreidler is a Democrat who previously served in the Washington state legislature. He was not known for consistently voting present as did another former Democrat state legislator, Barack Obama.