Bill White Issues Statement
November 26, 2013 Leave a comment
William White has issued the attached statement on his termination as DISB Commissioner earlier this month. The AM Best article below offers additional information.
Best’s News Service – November 25, 2013 04:06 PM
Fired DC Commissioner Releases Letter Defending His Criticism of ACA Rule Change ‘So I Can Move On’
WASHINGTON – Former Washington, D.C. Insurance, Securities and Banking Commissioner William White has released an open letter to address his firing after he criticized President Barack Obama’s announced rule change regarding insurance policies that do not meet the Affordable Care Act’s minimum standards.
White told Best’s News Service he "wanted to get my side of the story out there, so I can move on."
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray dismissed White on Nov. 14 — one day after White released a statement saying the rule change would "undercut the purpose of the exchanges, including the District’s DC Health Link, by creating exceptions that make it more difficult for them to operate."
White was referring to Obama’s Nov. 14 announcement that his administration will waive some requirements of the law and allow insurers to renew plans without all 10 of the minimum essential benefits mandated under the ACA for an additional year. The rule change will affect current enrollees.
In a Nov. 25 letter, which was first posted on Captive.com, White said the purpose of his previous statement was not to criticize Obama, but rather to call into question the course of action being suggested to state insurance commissioners.
White said his statement echoed a separate statement released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
"It is regrettable that in this instance, other aspects of the situation were allowed to override what I believe were the more important marketplace concerns," White said. "I did and said what I thought to be right in my role as the District’s top insurance official, but there will always be differences of opinion with sensitive matters of policy. I am disappointed this has ended the way it did. We had worked hard to build something of real value for the District, and I thought I was doing my job by trying to protect it."
White said he was not speaking on Gray’s behalf and "not one single decision or action that I have taken or refrained from taking as commissioner has ever been politically driven or motivated, and I have never acted on the political urging of anyone."
White thanked all of those who reached out to support him after his termination.
While White is the sole insurance commissioner to lose his job over it, many insurance commissioners have come out against Obama’s rule change.
On Nov. 22, Connecticut became the ninth state to have refused to allow extensions.
The same day, Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, voted to reject the rule change over the opposition of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who has pressured insurers into extending non-ACA-compliant health plans. In a 5-0 Nov. 21 vote, Covered California’s board decided to push forward with an existing plan to phase out more than 1 million individual health insurance plans that do not adhere to the ACA’s minimum essential health benefits requirements. Those plans are set to expire at the end of the year (Best’s News Service, Nov. 22, 2013).
In all, 22 states and the District of Columbia have said they will allow insurers to extend non-ACA compliant policies; and another 19 states have yet to make a decision (Best’s News Service, Nov. 25, 2013).
Obama recently met with NAIC President and Louisiana Commissioner Jim Donelon, Chief Executive Officer Ben Nelson and commissioners Tom Leonardi of Connecticut and Wayne Goodwin of North Carolina. The meeting focused on the potential problems associated with extending hundreds of thousands of policies that had been set to expire. Immediately after the Oval Office meeting, Donelon said it continues different rules for different policies and threatens to undermine the new market by leading to higher premiums and market disruptions in 2014 and beyond.
(By Jeff Jeffrey, Washington Bureau manager: jeff.jeffrey)