All five incumbent state insurance commissioners up for re-election won their bids Tuesday, four Democrats and one Republican, including two members of the NAIC’s leadership team.
Republican Adam Hamm of North Dakota won against Democratic competitor Tom Potter by 63.25% to 36.59%.
Hamm, a former prosecutor, is the Vice President of the NAIC and is due to lead the organization in a couple of years. He has tussled with the 2010 health care reform law implementation and has complained about being placed in limbo awaiting final rules from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on such measures as the Essential Health Benefit (EHB) benchmark plan required for states to file under the health care reform law.
Hamm has written that the North Dakota Insurance Department is fielding countless questions surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and that the North Dakota Insurance Department is analyzing information to provide North Dakota’s consumers with unbiased resources concerning the new health reform law.
Current NAIC Secretary-Treasurer and Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen was also re-elected by what looks to be at least 53% against Republican challenger Derek Skees.
Lindeen is Vice-Chair of the NAIC Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee and has been active on health care reform issues. Lindeen was appointed to the Federal Insurance Office Advisory Board, which aids the office’s director in monitoring the insurance industry. She is also a member of the System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF) board and the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) board of directors.
In Delaware, incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart won by 61.1% over Republican Benjamin Mobley (36.8%) and libertarian candidate David Eisenhour ( 2.1%).
In Washington State, the longest-running current insurance commissioner, veteran legisaltor and current health care advocate, Mike Kreidler, triumphed over John R. Adams, getting what looked to be at least 57% of the vote.
One of the more interesting situations, though, is that of Democratic North Carolina Commissioner Wayne Goodwin (N.C.)
Goodwin dealt with a straight ticket ballot but prevailed, winning 51.83% to Republican Mike Causey ‘s 48.17% in the state that presidential contender, Gov. Mitt Romney won narrowly and which has a new Republican Governor, former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory. In the only party switch in the 11 gubernatorial races this year, McCrory beat current Lt. Governor Walter Dalton to become the first GOP head of the state since 1988, according to press reports.
Goodwin, a former state legislator and lawyer in private practice, discussed his priorities with National Underwriter the day after the election, noting the health care reform balance he must strike with the new Republican governor in a state that took a wait and see attitude on PPACA Exchange implementation.
“Like a large number of states, North Carolina rolled the dice on whether ACA would be stricken,” Goodwin said. Legislation for an exchange passed the house but stalled in the state senate.
There is a looming November 16 deadline to tell HHS if it intends to go forward with a state-based health insurance marketplace or exchange or a federal partnership. This means it is too late for the state to act on a North Carolina exchange, he noted, yet creating a state exchange is a priority, he said.