WASHINGTON BUREAU — At least 14 people who have represented consumer groups in National Association of Insurance Commissioners proceedings want to keep Congress from giving the NAIC authority over health coverage standards.
The consumer reps have written a letter to the Senate Finance Committee asking the committee to delete a health reform bill provision that would give the NAIC, Kansas City, Mo., a role in setting health insurance standards.
The consumer reps ask that rule-making authority be kept under the jurisdiction of government agencies “that operate under standards requiring transparency, independence, and open meetings.”
The NAIC does not operate independently of the insurance industry, and there are questions about the NAIC’s commitment to consumer concerns, the consumer reps contend.
A majority of the regulators who served as NAIC presidents from 1998 through 2007 went on to work for the insurance industry, as did many other insurance commissioners with leadership roles in the NAIC, the consumer reps write.
“This revolving door gives the impression that leadership positions at the NAIC are stepping-stones to careers in the insurance industry,” the consumer reps write.
The NAIC provision in question is part of the current draft of the America’s Health Future Act health reform bill. The Senate Finance Committee is continuing to go over the bill this week. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., hopes to complete work on the bill and send it to the Senate floor by the end of the week.