GOP: Cede health insurance regulation to feds

GOP state House Rep. Andrew Manuse has a message for the sneaky bureaucrats at the state Insurance Department. He’s onto you.

When the legislature prohibited the state from creating a state-based exchange for residents to evaluate and purchase health insurance, it permitted the state Insurance Department to perform regulatory functions, such as licensing and rate review, within a federally-facilitated exchange.

This week, Deputy Insurance Commissioner Alex Feldvebel met with members of the legislature’s joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee and recommended that the state enter into a partnership with the federal government to do just that. The plan management partnership would allow the state to continue conducting regulatory functions that have traditionally not been the purview of the federal government, he explained, and would be consistent with state law.

Manuse responded with a big raspberry. That’s just a sneaky way to implement a state exchange, he declared:

We had a Health Care Reform Oversight Committee meeting today, and we heard the Insurance Department’s pitch to form a “partnership exchange,” which is basically a state exchange that the federal government is now calling a federal exchange, to get around HB 1297. Well, thankfully, we have the votes on the Oversight Committee to stop it from happening. N.H. is not going to comply with Obamacare, and only that way, with other states joining us, will Obamacare be repealed.

To make his point, Manuse and his partners in crime are willing to cede regulatory authority to the federal government. If they get their way, the federal government will perform all plan management functions within the exchange and — because many Affordable Care Act requirements extend beyond the exchanges into the entire insurance market — the state’s regulatory authority will be compromised even for health insurance sold outside the exchange.

8 Responses to GOP: Cede health insurance regulation to feds

  1. Lucy Edwards July 29, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    like they don’t understand what the new healthcare law says.  Or is it that they have to take this tack because their base will go after them if they don’t?  Whatever it is, they are not doing NH residents any favors.  

  2. TimothyHorrigan July 29, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Andrew Manuse is a first term rep who was a virtual unknown two years ago, and who is not running for re-election this year. He made the most of his one term, but he nevertheless has a lot to learn and he has passed up a golden opportunity to learn more. Furthermore, he is hiding from the voters: his neighbors didn’t really know who he was in 2010, and now he is refusing to give the people of his community a chance to weigh in on what he did during his one term.

    It seems a little bizarre that O’Brien has made Manuse his point man on the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee, given that he definitely will not be around to implement the committee’s recommendations.  He won’t even be around to defend those recommendations during the campaign.

    That said, he will likely still be politically active in some capacity, and he doubtless is looking for a job.  He is an ambitious young man with a growing family  to support: no one can fault him for seeking a job which pays more than $100/year.  His appointment to this committee does create the appearance of possible impropriety. The people will be wondering whether his actions are for their greater good— or for his own greater good.  They will be wondering if he is currying favor with possible employers.

    • susanthe July 29, 2012 at 6:22 am #

      who undoubtedly realizes that the FSP is about as popular as Hepatitis C with  NH voters.  

  3. elwood July 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    If New Hampshire sulks in the corner and the federal government runs the Affordable Care Act program in the state, is that necessarily a bad thing?

    You might expect some economies of scale if one federal agency is performing the same functions for ten states. We don’t need state Medicare oversight, for example.

    My guess is, things wouldn’t be that rosy: for example, local hospitals and doctors might be more likely to lose reimbursements. That could create a coalition to push for state engagement.

    But I’m not clear on how it would play out.

  4. SethCohn July 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Current law now bans NH state run exchanges. Manuse and others do not believe the feds can afford to run a federal exchange. Creating a pseudo federal exchange run by the state is an end run around the law, and attempting to do so is probably one of the best validation that perhaps the feds know they can’t do an effective federal exchange, or why try this?

    • William Tucker July 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      He’s willing to risk giving up state control of insurance regulation by gambling that the federal government can’t afford to run the program? Sounds like a sucker bet to me.

      Frankly, given this legislature’s predilection for meddling in executive branch administration functions, I’m not sure I object to letting the feds run it.

    • Legal Beagle August 2, 2012 at 1:34 am #


      State agencies or departments may interact with the federal government with respect to the creation of a federally-facilitated exchange for New Hampshire.


      Seeing that Manuse was the sponsor of the amended version with Senator White most of us mistakingly thought he actually understood what his bill said and does. My mistake. The NH Insurance Department presented two options to the committee at its last meeting. The first was the so called partnership model. The second was a pure federal program. We wouldn’t want the facts to get in the way would we?  Ramble on Frestater Cohen.  

  5. JimWilson August 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    insurance exchange to the Feds, a national insurance plan option that would be administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the federal agency that administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP), strikes me as being a good thing.  

    The federal government is remarkably better at developing and managing health-care systems than is the NH legislature. ‘Obamacare’ will be implemented much more efficiently in NH as a result of the Republican’s actions requiring direct federal implementation of the NH exchange.

    I know that Republican’s weren’t seeking my thanks with their petulance but ‘Thanks’.

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