At press time, only 16 state governorships were firmly in Democratic hands. Democrats had a shot at seeing their candidates lead three other states.
Republicans had a firm hold on 31 governorships. Because of a combination of concerns about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the soft economy, and other local and national issues, Republicans succeeded at wrestling governorships away from Democrats in traditional Democratic strongholds such as Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.
Pennsylvania is the only state in which a Democrat took a governorship away from a Republican. There, Tom Wolf has defeated Tom Corbett, a strong PPACA opponent.
It’s not immediately clear what effect the Republican wins will have on their states’ PPACA public exchange program. In Massachusetts, for example, previous governor, Deval Patrick, had little luck with getting his state’s exchange to work. The incoming governor, Charlie Baker, has talked about applying for waivers from some federal requirements but has not suggested that his state should shut down its exchange.
But new governors with the ability to appoint their own insurance commissioners could change PPACA implementation that way, and influence the implementation policies the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) sets.
See also: NAIC appoints Adam Hamm to FSOC.
Meanwhile, voters in three states — California, Georgia and Kansas – voted on insurance commissioners at the polls, and voters in California and Louisiana voted on ballot measures with major implications for the health insurance and long-term care insurance (LTCI) markets.
Here’s a look at the results.
Dave Jones, the Democratic incumbent, won with 56 percent of the vote.
Ted Gaines, the owner of Gaines Insurance Agency Inc. and vice chair of the state Senate Insurance Committee, received 44 percent of the vote.
Insurers and their allies — including allies at Covered California, the state’s state-based PPACA public exchange, managed to defeat the Proposition 45 health insurance rate change referendum, with 60 percent of the voters voting against the measure.
Supporters argued that the measure would have given consumers much-needed power to slow unreasonable health insurance rate increases, by letting consumers go to court to oppose increases. Opponents argued that the private-right-of-action provision would have encouraged lawyers to file rate increase suits to maximize their own income.