While House Republican leaders have stepped up their rhetoric about dismantling the new health care law, the GOP wave that extended to governor’s mansions and state legislatures will provide critics of the law ample opportunity to put their stamp on the measure at the state level.
Nearly all of the Republicans who won gubernatorial races campaigned against the health care law, and at least two new GOP governors, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Matt Mead of Wyoming, have said their states should join in legal challenges to overturn the insurance coverage mandate in the law.
If Republican governors drag their feet too much, specifically on insurance exchanges, the law permits the federal government to take over where states fall behind. But with the Health and Human Services Department already tasked with the huge role of writing regulations for each provision of the law, having to run exchanges and other programs for states with potentially hostile governments will add to the challenge.
The turnover among governors means there is also the potential of a shift in the makeup of insurance commissioners.
After passing medical loss ratio regulations that liberal groups heralded as tough on insurance companies and good for consumers, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners may find itself with a more conservative outlook come January. NAIC still has much to do with the health care law, most notably in determining what insurance exchanges should look like.
The association might be facing a new round of elections for its 2011 leadership if newly elected GOP governors in Iowa and Florida appoint new commissioners over NAIC President Susan Voss and President-elect Kevin McCarty. NAIC VP Kim Holland, Oklahoma’s current insurance commissioner, was ousted Tuesday in favor of GOP contender John Doak.
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