Archive for Monday, July 26, 2010

Health Care Reform Act major point of contention in Insurance Commissioner race

July 26, 2010


The biggest issue facing the Kansas Insurance Commissioner race is how each candidate plans to address the Health Care Reform Act.

On Aug. 3, two-time insurance commissioner Sandy Praeger will face David Powell of El Dorado who has 33-years of experience in the insurance business.

With no Democratic challenger, the winner of the Republican primary will be left to make sense of how to implement the legislation from the Health Care Reform Act, much of which is slated to go into effect in 2014. By then the state is required to have a health insurance exchange, which gives people a variety of plans to choose from including a public health insurance option.

Preparing Kansas for those changes is the main reason Praeger said she is running for a third term.

“It is just too busy of a time to walk away,” Praeger said.

Powell, who has read all 8,000 pages of the health care reform bill, believes the Kansas Attorney General should join the other states that are fighting to opt out of health care reform.

“There is nothing good in that,” Powell said of the act.

Powell criticizes the role Praeger played in determining that Kansas would manage its own program to offer insurance to those who have denied coverage because of preexisting conditions.

Kansas is among the 29 states that has agreed to manage its own high-risk insurance pool.

Powell fears that by agreeing to run the high-risk pool, the state has been put in a weaker legal position to oppose the Health Care Reform Act in court.

He also fears the state will run out of the $36 million it was given by the federal government to run the program. He predicts the state would be short at least a $100 million a year if it had to cover just a portion of the estimated 40,000 people that are estimated to be eligible for the program.

“If the federal government runs it and runs out of money, the state is not responsible,” Powell said. “If we run the pool and run out of money, Kansas taxpayers are on the hook.”

Praeger said the federal government agreed that states would not take on any financial liability in managing the program.

“It is whether or not we want to stay in control of it at the state level or if we want to abdicate to the feds and let them run it. And I just always think it’s better to keep the control local if we can,” Praeger said.

For the first six months, Praeger said the plan will have open enrollment. If demand is high, the program will limit enrollment.

“We are going to watch it closely and if we have to shut it down because we run out of money then that is what will have to happen,” Praeger said.

Of course there is much more to the office of insurance commissioner then preparing for health care reform.

Based on his three decades in the business, Powell said he has a number of ideas for improving the insurance industry. For example, he wants to see a universal application that companies can send to multiple insurance agencies. He also thinks the office should take a leading role in getting uninsured motorists off the road and that credit scores shouldn’t be used in determining a consumer’s insurance rates.

“I think its about time we put someone in office that knows insurance from the ground up,” Powell said.

Praeger sees her role as a regulator and her eight years in office as a success.

“The insurance department is there for consumers. That is our responsibility. We are there to make sure we have fair laws on the books and those laws are enforced effectively. And that we have a balance between consumer protection and creating a market place that has good products for consumers to buy,” Praeger said. “I think our department is doing a great job.”


kansanjayhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

Praeger is a RINO-- Republican In Name Only--it is time for her to go. We don't need liberal agendas from our Insurance Commissioner. I'm voting for David Powell!

BigDog 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm NOT voting for David Powell.

The last thing the Insurance Commissioner's Office needs is another insurance executive running it.

I hope people remember what Fletcher Bell and Ron Todd meant to the insurance commissioner's office office, ..... cozy relationships with insurance companies, campaigns heavily funded by insurance executives, corruption. etc. These two men gave Sebelius the ability to waltz right into office ..... she should still be sending them thank you notes.

appleaday 7 years, 10 months ago

Isn't 33 years in the insurance business some kind of conflict of interest for being an insurance commissioner?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story: ================================================================== How much is the sick U.S. health care system costing you?

By Joel A. Harrison The U.S. health care system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.

More on this matter:

National Health Insurance

Health Care In the USA

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL is the most practical and provides the most significant coverage, opens door to choice across the board for the least amount of money. it would be foolish for me to spend more ……. in fact down right stupid.

Socialism must work. Our elected officials on both sides of the aisle love it……

Meanwhile, members of Congress enjoy “cradle to grave” socialist medical and retirement benefits that outstrip those of the old Soviet Central Committee members.

According to friends from Germany,Italy and Canada they have no quarrel about their health care system. In fact they find the USA system anything but compassionate. Relatives in Turkey have no quarrel.

Americans traveling abroad to countries that provide healthcare can receive treatment for no cost.

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL is about providing medical insurance for a better price.... the bottom line!

What would IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL eliminate:

  • denial of treatment
  • interference from insurance companies
  • cancellation of coverage
  • co pays
  • deductibles
  • over priced pharamaceuticals
  • golden parachutes
  • shareholders
  • CEO's
  • 2000 bureaucracies
  • over charging consumers billions of dollars

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