SEATTLE–Affordable Care Act implementation dominated the opening session of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) summer meeting.
NAIC President Jane Cline, the West Virginia insurance commissioner, said that the “work has not stopped” and that “there is no shortage of significant issues on our plates.”
Cline said NAIC working groups have held more than 280 meetings on health system change implementation since Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, which includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The PPACA has received more than 400 documents relating to Affordable Care implementation from interested parties, and the NAIC’s conference call bill now stands at $80,000, Cline reported.
Many state insurance departments are constrained by budget cuts as a result of the economic crisis, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should be coming to their aid with $1 million Affordable Care Act implementation grants, Cline said.
“Our challenge is enforcement,” she said, adding that there needs to be an open and transparent process as “we all have a hand in the future of health care.”
Cline also talked about implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Congress left most insurance regulatory authority in the hands of the states, but the industry will see “much more engagement with our colleagues in D.C.” with the creation of a Federal Insurance Office (FIO) at the U.S. Treasury Department, Cline said.
The FIO should be especially helpful at helping insurers expand outside the United States, Cline said.
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler welcomed attendees and noted that the state has had experience with overseeing the oldest health care cooperative in the country. He said that experience can help states move forward on the Affordable Care Act.
“We have a huge task ahead to make sure that it is done right,” Kreidler said. “We hold the lives of millions of people in our hands. We have no choice but to get it right.”