Federal Insurance Czar debated

July 13, 2009

Industry weighs the pros and cons of an Obama-appointed Federal Insurance Czar.

The Obama administration is said to be facing different perspectives regarding the establishment of a Federal Insurance Czar or the Health Choices Commissioner. On one hand, state regulators believe a federal czar is not needed. Meanwhile, some consumer groups believe that a federal insurance commissioner can help keep insurers honest.

Joseph Mack, president, Joseph Mack & Associates, healthcare business advisors in Dana Point, Calif., believes that managed care executives should not spend resources analyzing the potential effects of a Federal Czar.

“Executives should be focusing their resources on defining, quantifying and implementing clinical best practice standards,” Mack says. “Evidence shows and public opinion overwhelmingly believes that healthcare costs continue to rise while the definition of quality is ill-defined at best.

“Short of a complete government takeover of healthcare, competition will be won based on quality and cost. The best quality care is the most cost-effective. The ability for MCOs to quantifiably demonstrate they are market leaders in quality and cost will enable them to succeed.”

How an MCO positions itself to best prosper in any potential national healthcare program can be assessed and planned for once the details and structure of a potential national healthcare program materialize, according to Mack.

“Demonstrating that they are the highest, most cost-effective organizations will best serve MCOs regardless of whether healthcare reform passes in 2009 or the future,” he says.