HEALTH REFORM: NAIC
OFFERS FULL SUPPORT
Praeger Says Reform 'Long Overdue,' Urges
(March 25, 2009) - Testifying on behalf of the National
Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Kansas Insurance
Commissioner Sandy Praeger offered Congress the assistance of state
insurance regulators in crafting legislation to address health
insurance access and affordability.
"State insurance regulators believe it is important to ensure
that affordable, sufficient health coverage is available to small
business owners, their employees and individuals," said Praeger, who
is also NAIC immediate past president and chair of the NAIC Health
Insurance and Managed Care Committee. "The NAIC offers its full
support in developing federal legislation that will reach this
goal-a goal that can only be attained through federal-state
Praeger provided comments at a roundtable hearing of the U.S.
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a
session titled, "Addressing Insurance Market Reform in National
"Years have been spent talking about broad health care reforms
that will ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health
insurance coverage and the peace of mind that goes with it," Praeger
said. "Action is long overdue and we stand ready to assist in
whatever way we can."
Introduced at the hearing by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) - who
described her extensive public service and experience with health
reform as a mayor, state legislator and insurance commissioner -
Praeger emphasized four key principles for Congress to consider when
enacting health reform legislation:
- Address Health Care Spending. Any effort to
increase access to insurance will not be successful over time
unless the overriding issue of rapidly rising health care costs is
- Protect the Rights of Consumers. The states
already have the patient protections, solvency standards, fraud
prevention programs and oversight mechanisms in place to protect
consumers; these should not be preempted by the federal
government. Praeger urged policymakers to preserve state oversight
of health insurance and avoid preempting or superseding state
- Avoid Adverse Selection. Any program that
grants consumers the choice between two pools with different
rating, benefit or access requirements will result in adverse
selection for one of the pools. While subsidies or incentives
could ameliorate some of the selection issues, the effectiveness
of such inducements could erode as costs continue to rise and
- Preserve a Strong State Role. Congress must
carefully consider the impact of any new federal reforms on the
states' ability to be effective partners in solving the health
care crisis. In addition, the NAIC urges Congress to review
current federal laws and regulations that hinder state efforts to
reform the health care system.
"The NAIC encourages Congress to work with states and learn from
past reforms," Praeger said. "Together, we can implement successful
initiatives that will truly protect and assist all consumers."
Click HERE to view the full text of Praeger's
About the NAIC
Formed in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
(NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory
officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S.
territories. The NAIC has three offices: Executive Office, Washington,
D.C.; Central Office, Kansas City, Mo.; and Securities Valuation Office,
New York City. The NAIC serves the needs of consumers and the industry,
with an overriding objective of supporting state insurance regulators as
they protect consumers and maintain the financial stability of the
insurance marketplace. For more information, visit www.naic.org.
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