Insurance head’s Obama blast skirted right channels
The decision to fire the District’s insurance commissioner came swiftly after he criticized President Obama’s plan to let people with coverage that does not meet the Affordable Care Act’s standards extend their plans for one year.
But D.C. officials still have yet to decide whether they will implement the plan or forge ahead with their own health exchange.
“We haven’t even gotten into the details of that,” D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Monday. “We will ask for input from Health Link, which is our marketplace.”
Mr. Gray said he also plans to speak with Mila Kofman, the executive director of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority.
A spokeswoman said Ms. Kofman was unavailable for comment Monday. Officials on Friday fired the commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, William P. White, after he issued a statement critical of the president’s plan — a statement that D.C. officials said was not approved through the proper channels. Mr. Gray declined to speak specifically about Mr. White’s termination.
Mr. White issued a statement Thursday saying the president’s plan “undercuts the purpose of the exchanges, including the District’s DC Health Link, by creating exceptions that make it more difficult for them to operate.”
An official with knowledge of Mr. White’s termination said the commissioner was not fired for the substance of his message, but because he didn’t run it first by Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins, or wait for approval from Mr. Gray’s communications staff before posting
of profiling and we don’t want that,” said Mr. Mendelson, a Democrat. “The limited purpose driver’s license really isn’t that distinguishable.”
Asked whether he thought undocumented residents would get the license despite the marking, Mr. Mendelson responded, “Absolutely.”
“The experience in other states is that it will very much be in demand,” he said.
The District joins 11 states and Puerto Rico in offering some form of driver’s license to undocumented residents. The majority of the jurisdictions also use a special notification on the licenses, including California, where Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s law into effect in October.
During the signing, immigrant rights activists and supporters of the bill applauded and exchanged handshakes and hugs with the mayor afterward.
“I’m really proud to be a part of the effort to bring about immigration reform here in the District of Columbia and across the nation,” Mr. Gray said.
The law is subject to a congressional review of 30 legislative days. Mr. Gray said he expects the District’s Department of Motor Vehicles to be ready to issue the licenses by May 1.