The insurance commissioner of Washington, D.C. has resigned under pressure following his comments regarding President Obama’s healthcare plan fixes.
Commissioner William P. White was notified Friday by Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins, who works for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, that White’s services were no longer needed.
PC360 obtained a copy of White’s resignation letter.
Gray’s office did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.
White issued a press statement Nov. 14 saying that the action by President Obama allowing extension of policy contracts not meeting the Essential Health Benefits provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “undercuts the purpose of the exchanges, including the District’s D.C. Health Link, by creating exceptions that make it more difficult for them to operate.”
White, an independent, said he concurred with the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s (NAIC) sentiment, which stated that “This decision continues different rules for different policies and threatens to undermine the new market, and may lead to higher premiums and market disruptions in 2014 and beyond.”
In an email to PC360, White explains, “My comments on issues affecting insurance, securities, and banking markets in DC have always been understood to be from the regulatory perspective. I do not speak for the Mayor and have never indicated otherwise. I was not criticizing the President, but I was calling into question the course of action being suggested because of its potential impact on the DC marketplace and its residents.
“The statement reflected concerns but also made clear that DISB would work with stakeholders to determine what would be the best course of action for DC. In this instance the political aspects overshadowed what I believe were the more important marketplace concerns. I have been committed to the exchange idea because I believed it would improve the delivery of healthcare to District residents. I think what we have accomplished goes a long way toward making that a reality. I thought I was doing my job by protecting what we have built,” he continued.
White told PC360 Hoskins told him the city “was moving in a different direction.”
White said he wasn’t entirely surprised at the mayor’s decision, given that this is an election year and things are always sensitive.
Chester A. McPherson, deputy commissioner of market operations at the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, replaced White.
The decision is effective Dec. 2, although White left the office the day he was notified. His email refers to Nov. 16 as his last day in government service. He was notified just after returning from an insurance regulation-related trip to Korea.
White was confirmed by the City Council of the District of Columbia on June 7, 2011, by a unanimous vote. He is the chief regulator of the District of Columbia’s financial-services industries but played a large part on the national and international regulatory stages, as well.
White has been very active in policy discussions with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, the EU-U.S. Dialogue, the NAIC, as well as in the District on local policy health insurance matters.
He is also member of the Federal Insurance Office Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance.
“I thought he was very bright and articulate, and one of a small number of commissioners who was very involved in international issues,” said Thomas Leonardi, Connecticut insurance commissioner and the chair of the NAIC’s International Committee, via email. “He will be sorely missed at the NAIC and I am saddened by the news that he is no longer the D.C. Commissioner.” White was Leonardi’s vice chair.
Original article in Property Casualty 360.