November 17, 2013, 09:56 am
Insurance industry warns against 'fix'
By Julian Pecquet
Top insurance industry officials warned Sunday that President Obama's push to delay health plan cancellations would only make things worse.
Obama announced his proposed fix last week after insurers cancelled millions of individual market policies. The cancellations have created a massive political headache for Democratic lawmakers and a president who repeatedly asserted that Americans would be able to keep their plans.
“We have a policy disagreement,” Karen Ignagni, head of the industry group America's Health Insurance Plans, told "Fox News Sunday." “When you set rules in place, and an industry meets them, and then the rules are changed, that creates... problems.”
Obama summoned industry officials to the White House on Friday to try to assuage their worries. Ignagni said her group still has concerns.
She refused to criticize the White House, however, although it has renewed attacks on the industry for crafting plans that can leave Americans exposed to catastrophic expenses. She said the industry is working with the administration to come up with a solution.
“We have work to do,” she said. “I'm not in the blame game biz.”
Obama on Friday also called former Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), the head of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, after his group warned that his proposed fix “threatens to undermine the new market and may lead to higher premiums and market disruptions in 2014 and beyond.”
“The commissioners still have the same concerns,” Nelson told Fox News on Sunday. “Keep in mind, some of the commissioners have already found a way to extend the coverage people currently have into 2014.
“Some have already taken steps comparable to what the president is talking about; others are taking other steps to mitigate against this and others have decided they're not going to follow the president has suggested.”