Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said it's "still too early to tell" if the federal health insurance law will stand as more setbacks plague its implementation.
Goodwin, a Democrat, made his comments during a Fox News interview Friday morning. He met in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama and other National Association of Insurance Commissioners on Wednesday to talk about the health care law. (See video below.)
Even with eight other states saying they won't allow people to keep their current insurance plans for one year, as the White House proposed last week, Goodwin said he felt it was necessary.
"The decisions was because I have 473,000 North Carolinians who will have a gap in insurance coverage and that would be devastating to those families and their pocket books," he told interview Bill Hemmer. "Frankly, I think it's the only decision I could make under the circumstances."
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Goodwin said he told Obama in the meeting that he felt the need to allow the current policies to be continued, even though he acknowledged it would raise premium rates for some people next year. "I shared with the president that I have to stand up for North Carolinians and that if they needed to keep their insurance coverage I was going to do that."
North Carolina is one of 17 states allowing the stop-gap fix proposed by the White House, according to Kaiser Health News. Another roughly two dozen states are undecided.
In the interview, Goodwin said he office was preparing for the extension before Obama made it official. Blue Cross Blue Shield contacted the office to talk about this issue prior to the White House announcement. "North Carolina was ahead of curve," he said. "We were working on this solution well before we heard that the president or the White House was going to suggest the same thing."
Goodwin said people are just now understanding what the law means and state insurance commissioners are seeing the fallout. "Obviously the fumbled roll out of the president's proposal ... has certainly made things difficult for all of us," he said.