State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has been a longtime advocate of health care reform. He’s never wavered in his support of fellow Democrat Barack Obama while the president waged a hard-fought battle to pass through Congress the Affordable Care Act.
Kreidler was instrumental in convincing the state Legislature that the consumers of this state would be best served by a state-controlled marketplace for purchasing health care insurance, also known as the state health care exchange, as allowed under the act.
That’s proven to be a wise move in light of all the problems with the federal health care exchange, which is used by consumers living in states that chose not to craft their own.
So as Obama fumbled and stumbled around last week, announcing that insurers should be able to offer substandard insurance plans through 2014 to anyone who currently has one and is faced with a policy cancellation, Kreidler parted ways with the president.
Kreidler’s stance is appropriate and true to the intent of the law. While Obama is caught in a no-win political game in Washington, D.C., insurers and consumers in this state should abide by the law as written.
“In the interest of keeping the consumer protections we have enacted and ensuring that we keep insurance costs down for all consumers, we are staying the course,” Kreidler said in rejecting the president’s policy reversal. Insurance companies doing business in this state will not be allowed to offer insurance policies that don’t meet the requirements of the law.
And that’s how it should be. For the health care exchange to work property, all eligible consumers need to participate equally to ensure a robust pool of healthy people and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
This Washington is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Kreidler is reminding us to stay the course, and we should heed his words.