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Some States Lacking in Health Law Authority

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she realized that "some states may lack the full authority they might need or desire to fully...
August 18, 2010

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she realized that "some states may lack the full authority they might need or desire to fully enforce" the new healthcare market rules that take effect in September.

Kim Holland, the insurance commissioner for Oklahoma, said, "We will have to seek explicit authority from our State Legislature to make sure we can adequately enforce all the new provisions of federal law." Michigan Insurance Commissioner Ken Ross weighed in, saying, "I fully expect insurers to comply," even though his office "does not currently have clear authority to enforce the consumer protections enacted in federal law." Some states hope to promote compliance by using their authority to reexamine insurance policy contracts and forms.

Presently, 13 states have no authority to review proposed health insurance rate hikes for most coverage lines, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Sandy Praeger, the Kansas insurance commissioner and chairwoman of the NAIC's health committee, said states were eager to adopt tougher procedures to stave off federal interest in acquiring that authority. "The pressure is on us to prove that what we do is effective, and for states that don't have the authority to get it done," Praeger said.

Some States Lacking in Health Law Authority (New York Times 8/14/10)

 

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