D.C. Insurance Commissioner Fired Day After Criticizing Obamacare 'Fix'
by Tony Lee 17 Nov 2013, 10:11 AM PDT
Washington, D.C.'s insurance commissioner was fired a day after he criticized President Barack Obama's "administrative fix" for Obamacare.
William P. White, the D.C. insurance commissioner, told the Washington Post that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's top deputies said Gray “wants to go in a different direction" after White was one of the first commissioners to push back against Obama's "fix."
Though White said he was not told that he was specifically fired for his criticism, he "said the timing was hard to ignore." He said that 24 hours after his criticism, he was 'basically being told, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’”
Obama, in a Thursday White House press conference, announced an administrative fix that would allow insurance companies to extend plans that they have cancelled for another year. After that press conference, White, according to the Post, said Obama's "action today undercuts the purpose of the exchanges, including the District’s DC Health Link, by creating exceptions that make it more difficult for them to operate."
He also said that he concurred with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners's assessment that Obama's administrative fix “threatens to undermine the new market, and may lead to higher premiums and market disruptions in 2014 and beyond.”
According to the Post, "White’s statement was removed from the department’s Web site sometime before Friday morning."
White was "Gray’s commissioner for the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking since February 2011." D.C. officials said he was removed because any criticism of Obama's administrative fix needed to be vetted more thoroughly, and White failed acknowledge the misstep of not sending his statement criticizing Obama higher up the chain of command before releasing it.
After Obama falsely promised Americans that they could keep their insurance plans under Obamacare, he has scrambled after millions received cancellation notices, and he eventually announced on Thursday his administration will allow insurance companies to let those whose insurance plans were cancelled to re-apply and keep their plans for another year.
Whether insurance companies will be allowed to do so, though, will ultimately rest with the insurance commissioners of the states. And others, like Washington state's insurance commissioner, have already rejected Obama's "administrative fix," vowing to "stay the course" with Obamacare.
As the Post noted, Obama's plan "rattled the insurance industry, which had set prices for next year based on many of its products changing to comply with the health-care law," because "allowing some plans to continue beyond Jan. 1 could also run afoul of provisions in laws passed by dozens of states and the District to implement" Obamacare.