Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Interview with Gerry Purcell (Part III)

This is the third part of my interview with Gerry Purcell. Mr. Purcell is running for Insurance Commissioner for the State of Georgia. In the previous two posts, I gave a little background on who Mr. Purcell is and why he's qualified for this job. This time we talked about the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), global warming, and how to prevent the federal government from intruding in our health insurance.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

In researching Mr. Purcell, I came across the NAIC. This is an organization made up of the insurance commissioners from all 50 states. During our interview, Mr. Purcell pointed out that 36 of the states appoint their insurance commissioners. Georgia is in the minority in that we elect the Insurance Commissioner. Because of that, it's questionable how much this organization reflects the public, or what the voters in the 50 states want. Originally, this group did not have the power to force states to do anything. They could only make recommendations to the states. Mr. Purcell told me that changed under Obamacare. He said that Obamacare, "…nullifies, I think inappropriately, and perhaps illegally, the McCarran-Ferguson Act. " This act, "…basically establishes that states have control over their own insurance markets." With a federal health care system, this goes out the window. "Now you have this new, monstrous, insurance bill that invades and intrudes into that legislative authority that has been established for years, "he said. Mr. Purcell did warn what Obamcare would become a "full employment act" for lawyers because of the number of challenges that will be mounted on both sides of the aisle. There will be,"…dozens, if not hundreds {of lawsuits}, suing for the determination of the appropriateness of the legislative mandate, the nullification of McCarran-Ferguson, and the constitutionality of a non-governmental entity giving direction to a state." The last part of the comment brought us back to the NAIC.

I found that the NAIC had recently gotten into trouble because they had "asked" states to provide data on "climate related risks". They also stated that the states should have the ability to mandate insurance companies provide "climate related risks" data. I asked Mr. Purcell if he was elected, would he require insurance companies provide information on "climate related risks", would he ask they provide it, or would he drop the issue entirely? Mr. Purcell stated that he was the first candidate in the race to release a statement about this. When he first heard about this NAIC mandate, he made a call to John Oxendine's office asking them to drop this requirement, and then to the NAIC. He wanted to know under what authority the NAIC could make this a mandate to the states. When he spoke with the NAIC they stated it was actually "voluntary" and not a mandate. One of Mr. Purcell's concerns was the cost of this mandate. He estimated that the reporting would cost insurance companies millions of dollars. Further, that cost would be passed onto the consumer, and he didn't want to see insurance rates increased without any benefit to the consumer. Mr. Purcell said the only reason he could think that the NAIC would want data on "climate related risks" is to help generate support for a Cap and Trade bill. That shouldn't be the purpose of an insurance committee

How do you challenge Obamacare?

I asked Mr. Purcell if he would support a tenth amendment challenge to Obamacare. His response was very interesting:

"The tenth amendment is en vogue right now in Republican circles. Let me zero in on what that means to me. The question for me is: Does the federal government have the right, both legally and morally, to bankrupt the State of Georgia, and I say they don't. I say they don't and then you trigger the tenth amendment to exercise your push back on that."

Mr. Purcell is convinced that Obamacare will bankrupt Georgia. He points out that Obamacare will cost Georgia alone $1 Billion a year in today's dollars just in Medicaid. The federal government will fund this for the first couple of years. After that, they are going to stop funding it but require Georgians pick up the tab. Mr. Purcell estimates this could be as early as 2014 or 2015. By then, this will cost some $5 to $6 Billion. Mr. Purcell pointed out that Georgia had to balance its budget using $2 Billion in stimulus funds this year. Imagine trying to balance our state's budget without that money, but with an additional $6 Billion in expenses.

Next installment....

Next time, I ask Mr. Purcell how he would lower auto and health insurance costs for Georgians, and why he supports forcing Europe to pay their fair share of research costs for new drugs.

1 comment:

Tricia Pridemore said...

Gerry Purcell typifies what we need more of in government. When my group originally invited him to speak last summer, we had no idea of the education we would get on insurance laws and statewide regulations. Since, we've become advocates for cross-stateline health insurance purchasing and individual purchase pools. We love what Gerry stands for and support him in this election.

Tricia Pridemore
Leader, 912 Project of Georgia