North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Wish for Authority over Health Care Law

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Wish for Authority over Health Care Law

2/2/2011

The Insurance Commissioner of North Dakota, Adam Hamm, has requested state legislators to give him authority to implement provisions of the new federal health care law. This is despite the general skepticism of Hamm himself, as well as the GOP-controlled state Legislature, of the law’s overhaul.

North Dakota House’s Industry, Business and Labor Committee were told by Hamm that he expects the law to be followed by the insurers in the state. Nevertheless, he wanted to have a legal authority in case a particular insurer would shy away from abiding with some of the law’s provisions.

In case a company tells the insurance regulators in North Dakota did not have the authority to implement a provision of the new health care law, Hamm said, “…you instantly have a situation where most companies would be following the law, with one not.” He further stressed, “As a regulator, I can tell you, that is a nightmare scenario.”

Hamm said that the federal government may use the issue to wield more regulatory control of its own if such confusion results.

A number of proposals that would simultaneously put into action the federal health care law, as well as contest its legitimacy are being reviewed this week by legislative committees. A couple of weeks may pass before recommendations on whether they should be approved are made.

Legislators have submitted bills aimed to protect North Dakotans from being forced into buying health insurance. This particular provision of the federal law has already been ruled upon by a federal judge as unconstitutional. The decision is currently being appealed by the federal government.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com