05 March 2010

W.Va. Official Joins White House Health Care Talks

As president of the national association representing such regulators, state Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline was at the table for a White House meeting with President Barack Obama regarding health care legislation.

The Associated Press reports that Cline was among several of her counterparts from other states as well as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and top insurance executives.

On the agenda: proposed premium hikes Sebelius said are making consumers' jaws drop around the country," the article said. "Sebelius said the long-term solution is a new health insurance marketplace that Obama wants to create for individuals and small businesses."

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners said state regulators "stressed the importance of thorough and objective rate review, adding that premium increases must be actuarially justified without discriminating unfairly against any groups of policyholders," it said in a release afterward.

“State regulators are best positioned to perform rate review and many of us do so with great success,” Cline said in the release. “Some, however, have not been given the authority by their state legislatures to review and deny unjustified increases. We believe that a federal backstop could help encourage these legislatures to provide that authority.”

The White House has posted a photo from the meeting, showing Cline second from the president's left.

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