Live-Blog with David Smith, candidate for Insurance Commissioner - Welcome David

On Wednesday, April 16 we will have a live-blog chat with David Smith, a candidate for Insurance Commissioner. He will face Wayne Goodwin in the primary. Please leave your questions in this thread if you are not able to join us tomorrow evening. For more information visit David's web site.

Comments

There is a simple explanation about...

...why you can't find information about me -- my name is David Smith. :-) There are many more famous David Smiths than me. Just in Durham, for instance, there are twenty-five of us registered to vote.

Since this was a long answer to the question, I wanted to go ahead and post it for the folks involved in tonight's blog.

I am from Banner Elk, a small town in the North Carolina mountains where my parents are both from and still live. My father drove a truck for Sears and is a Teamster and my mother worked numerous jobs, from seamstress to owning a dress shop and is now a bookkeeper for a construction company. I attended Avery County Schools until 11th grade when I was offered an opportunity to attend the NC School of Science and Mathematics in Durham. When I moved to Durham, I felt at home and besides the four years I lived in Chapel Hill for undergrad, I've never really left. I am a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill in Political Science and have a law degree from NC Central University School of Law, which I earned in 1999.

I have two children, Mary Kathryn, who is 11, and my son, Drew, who is 8. My ex-wife and I have a very good relationship and we live less than a mile apart. I am a very active father and my children are the most important part of my life.

I have been an active Democrat since I was eight when I talked my Republican grandparents into voting for Jimmy Carter in 1976. I registered to vote as a Democrat (which was heresy in Avery County because the Republicans outregister Democrats 3-1) before I turned 18 because my birthday fell between the last day to register and Terry Sanford's primary in 1986. I have been a Congressional District Chairman (the old Second District) and active in the party at the precinct, county and state levels. I served on the Common Cause Board of Directors in the early part of this decade, and have chaired the DATA Board (our transit authority in Durham) when we expanded our route map to cover more of Durham and added bike racks to our buses, the General Statutes Commission, the City-County Merger Commission, and I currently sit on the School of Science and Math Board of Trustees.

I ran for State House 10 years ago and lost, but honorably. I expected one of our three representatives in Durham to retire and by the time he decided that he would not, I was fully committed to the race. However, the most important aspect of that race was that I raised $20,000 and took no PAC money and no lobbyist contributions. I outraised all three of my opponents, who each took sizable percentages of their contributions from PAC and lobbyists. I believe that this special interest money totally undermines confidence in our political system and that we need a higher commitment to that standard throughout campaigns and holding an office.

Professionally, I have been involved with health insurance and health care reform issues for most of my career. In 1992, I worked with Dennis Wicker's campaign to develop health care reform proposals and was subsequently hired as his policy and research advisor. In that role, I helped draft the laws that dictate how small businesses and non-profits purchase health insurance in North Carolina today. Those laws became key reasons why the number of uninsured dropped during the 1990's. I then went on to work on the Caroliance program, which was a proposal that Lt. Governor Wicker made and implemented by the legislature to allow small businesses to band together to buy health insurance.

When I started law school (Central has a great night program), I took a job at Blue Cross as a project manager to consolidate their small group enrollment team. Over the course of the next five years, I worked on numerous projects including implementing mental health parity, HIPAA and improving marketing with agents. I was in sales and marketing for the time of my employment and the highest position I held was Manager. But during this time, I became a resource on health insurance and ERISA legal issues for a number of agents (and by extension their clients) so I left Blue Cross to start my legal practice focusing in that area.

For the last six years, I have done primarily work with small businesses and individuals throughout the state on issues related to insurance. I have assisted insurance agents, who are sometimes caught precariously between insurance companies and their clients, to help them with issues related to their businesses. I have never represented an insurance company but have represented a number of people who are insurance agents. The majority of my work has been helping people understand what the system does and does not do and how to best resolve their issues. I have assisted people with claims that carriers would not pay. I have helped employees and employers understand continuation and its rules.

I see the Commissioner's job as more than just keeping auto rates low. I am coming to the table with specific ideas and a passion for this job that reflects my experience over the past sixteen years. From an issue perspective, my main thrust in this campaign has been on health care reform and I'm the only one talking about this issue. We need a Commissioner who will be an activist on these issues and who has perspective on the growing problem of the number of uninsured in our state. I will both an advocate for health care reforms outside of the Department's purview and a watchdog on the industry to make sure that we have competitive markets and proper conduct.

We have nearly 1.5 million people who don't have health insurance in North Carolina. I've been one of them -- I went uninsured for nearly a year but made sure that both my employees and my children were covered by health insurance. I've talked to far too many people in this state who live their lives in that same situation and know that it is a crisis that demands action, leadership and innovation.

I will strongly advocate for expanding Medicaid to 200% of the federal poverty level and demand that we increase the state's S-CHIP program, Healthy Access, to include every child and to assist parents in getting coverage through that same program. I will continue the work I've already done on creating the state's high risk pool to make sure it succeeds so that individuals with health problems can find coverage that doesn't cost $2,500 per month. I will be an essential resource in this process because I understand ERISA (the federal law on employee benefits) and will help lead the way toward innovative reforms that bring all sized employers to the table to find solutions to these problems.

To the issue of auto insurance rates, I favor maintaining the Commissioner's authority over approving insurance rates. But I believe that we need to remove many of the smoke and mirror systems we have in place today that allow carriers to put good drivers into the reinsurance facility (which was designed to be the pool for people with bad driving records). Currently almost a quarter of North Carolina drivers are in this pool (as compared to 2% of drivers in other states) because of the rules that are in place today. We need to change this; to ensure bad driver pay more of their own costs -- and reduce the surcharge that good drivers are paying for these bad drivers' habits.

With that, I will also ask the legislature set a 12 month limit on the period of reviewing and approving rates. Three times in the last twelve years the process has taken more than two years, once nearly three years. In the meantime, the insurance companies kept the higher premiums in escrow and ultimately North Carolinians had to wait until a settlement was reached before getting their premiums dollars back. By setting a firm deadline, we can make sure that the process works as it should and that insurance companies don't hold onto your hard earned dollars during these disputes.

I am very familiar with the Department's entire role -- including its responsibility to firefighters, rescue squads, overseeing bailbondsmen and inspectors as well as the state building code and the SHIIP program. I will focus on each of these areas, give every one the attention and high quality staff that each deserve and to take the politics out of the Department's relationship with these outside constituents. For instance, you will never see me delivering a check for new fire equipment because that's the Department's job and not an opportunity to make political hay. I see the job as a primary opportunity to do something good for the state in terms of making sure that the state's insurance markets work and we don't become the victim of trends and inaction and that oversight and regulation of each area is not subject to political whims.

Most importantly, I am running for this office because I have had a passion to fix the problem of the uninsured for years. I have enjoyed my work and prepared hard for this job. It will not be a stepping stone to another office, but one in which I will fully dedicate my time and energy to making the Department very effective and responsive to the needs of North Carolina's citizens.

Wow...that's a lot to take in

Thank you for posting it in advance.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Since as you say, there are many David Smiths

I heard a rumor that you have had your driver's license suspended and multiple tickets. If that is true, won't that open you up to a lot of attacks from the Republican if you are the nominee? Before anyone asks, no, i don't work for either campaign and yes, I support Wayne. We all know Wayne is too much of a gentleman to bring this up, but I think it is valid if it is true since this is the office that sets auto insurance rates. If you aren't the David Smith with this driving record, then please accept my apology.

The rumor mill is always hot about candidates...

Yes, I have had some tickets (though none more than 15 miles an hour over the speed limit and no accidents). As to the suspended license -- yes, I did have my license suspended. I got a ticket in Alamance County and asked a friend to handle it. My friend let me down and let it slip through the cracks. When I found out about the suspension, I took care of it immediately, the original ticket was dismissed and my license was reinstated.

Are you qualified?

The Insurance Commissioner is also State Fire Marshall. What
actual experience do you have that prepares you to handle fire code,
sprinklers, ISO ratings, plan reviews of public buildings by DOI
engineers, etc.?

Through the course of the campaign...

I have spoken with apartment complex associations, building contractors, leaders at the UNC System, fire chiefs, and engineers on the issues that the Department handles within the Office of State Fire Marshal. One thing is clear: there are things that we can do to make citizens of our state more safe. The first thing is I would take the politics out of the office. I think it's wrong for political candidates to take checks to fire departments at election time and I won't do that.

I will be a relentless advocate for boosting grants because I know our departments have real needs and don't need to worry about whether or not they are ok politically with the Department before they get the resources they need. I will work with constituents throughout the state to make improvements to our building code and to adopt real fire safety regulations to avoid tragedies such as last summer's fire at Ocean Isle Beach. I believe that the legislature must adopt new laws requiring fire detectors in all residential rental property in North Carolina and to greatly expand sprinkler requirements for multi-family residential units. Further, I will end the senseless delays that the UNC system is facing with building approvals by getting staff added and working with the State Construction Office to reduce the time it takes (and the money it costs) to get new buildings built on our campuses.

Parmea's questions

Resubmitted these questions, only seems fair.

Will you encourage hurricane insurance for everyone and not just deep water counties? The small number of people who have to buy insurance vs the number of people who are actually effected by a hurricane is not on par.

Katrinia proved that hurricanes go further and cause more damage then just the coastal counties.

Same with flood insurance. Almost every county in the state can be effected by floods but only perceived flood prone counties have to buy the stuff. Will you make either everyone buy flood insurance that has a river, stream, body of water or has had a hurricane impact them with flood waters or set a standard were individual plots of land over a certain height does not have to buy flood insurance?

Why I ask this, the more people who are paying the less the cost of the insurance in question is for everyone.

Where I live, it will take a flood of biblical proportions to flood me out, yet I have to buy it. I do not like that.

Double wide mobile homes, commonly referred to as trailers (FALSE!). Will you make mobile homes that are sitting on blocks, anchored down, and have a cement skirting have the same housing insurance costs as a stick or modular home? NC has a huge mobile/modular home factories and many people buy these homes, but this state feels these houses are higher risk and allows insurance companies to charge us more for our insurance. Will you force the insurance companies to stop this practice?

ALLSTATE has stated that they do not wish to insure double wide mobile homes in this state, or at least NE NC. Will you require ALLSTATE to either insure all homes and dwellings in this state or leave the state?

Thank you for your time.

Parmea

Thank you so much for asking this question!

Will you make mobile homes that are sitting on blocks, anchored down, and have a cement skirting have the same housing insurance costs as a stick or modular home?

This is a really important issue; many North Carolinians live in mobile homes, and there are like 75 different ways they get, well, quite frankly, screwed.

This website is a little hard to read, but here is some more info:
http://www.cra-nc.org/manufacturedhousing.htm

- - - - -
McCain - The Third Bush Term

I think that the issue about fair insurance pricing...

...for manufactured housing is an important issue and one that affects many people in our state. I will work both with the insurance industry and the manufactured housing industry to find solutions to this concern.

As it relates to flood insurance, I believe that more people should have coverage. It is an interesting concern that has impacted my family in the mountains who had their homes flooded during the hurricanes a few years back that hit the mountains and they had no flood insurance. We should do a better job having flood insurance sold along with homeowners policies and lenders need to emphasize the need for flood insurance for more residences.

I would note that the flood insurance program is a federal program that is a reflection of the lack of action by states. As Commissioner, I would increase attention and integration of flood insurance.

Did not ask Wayne because I did not think of it

until now

Dental insurance and Dental coverage. Will you encourage the dentists to accept more coverage? Currently, the only real dentist in my county does not accept Delta Dental, the military version. One, that seems kinda strange that a dentist will not support, or honor, or recognize a US government sponsered insurance plan. Two, what can be done to encourage Dentists to recognize the major dental plans?

If the dentists will not recognize these plans, what does that say about insurance programs in the first place? This could shake the foundations of the universal health care insurance plans as envisioned by Clinton and Obama. If dentists do not have to recognize Delta Dental, why should a doctor have to recognize universal health care insurance? Should doctors/dentists be allowed to recognize what if any insurance they wish to participate in?

This is a great question and a reflection of managed care...

...issues which continue to face our state. My dentist has bent my ear about this issue for years.

I have been told that a number of dentists in North Carolina do not participate on the Delta Dental plan because the reimbursement (what the carrier is willing to pay dentists for their services) is significantly below what other carriers pay based on my conversation. Dentists as a group learned the lesson that managed care does not necessarily mean more patients without strings and have only been so far unwilling to participate in contracts with certain carriers.

The difficult thing is that dental health is so important and we need to do everything to encourage more people to get their dental care and to find affordable to pay for that coverage. What I have heard consistently is if there was an attempt to negotiate reasonable reimbursements, more dentists would be involved with these major carriers. I believe that better interaction between the dentists and patients and insurers would help increase the number of insurance relationships and improve the financial arrangement for payment for those services.

I do believe that TriCare/CHAMPUS ought to be informed about the lack of a contractual relationship between this dentist and Delta Dental so that they might enter into a contract. The Department of Insurance would tell you correctly that this is outside their jurisdiction, I will make sure that attitude doesn't continue to the Department when I become Commissioner.

Thank you for the answer

it is sad that the government provided dental care is so lacking that dentists feel it does not meet the needs.

I hope you can at least work with the government entity to rectify this problem.

Seems like the dental coverage system is more for the money then for providing coverage.

This is my biggest concern with any insurance company.

Mr. Smith, It's wonderful that candidates

such as yourself see the value of BlueNC as a way to connect with citizens active in the political realm. More politicians are recognizing this medium as an inexpensive way to get word out about their campaigns so why don't you have a website?

What ties do you have to the insurance industry? Do you accept donations from this industry...directly or indirectly?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

His Website

http://www.electdavidsmith.com/
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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Thanks nctodc

didn't come up when I googled him.?. Are you associated with his campaign?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

No

I just copied it from Betsy Muse's introduction.
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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Thanks....

::head lowered in shame::

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Just checked out your website Mr. Smith

I didn't see any endorsements listed, and I know this is a statewide race. Would you mind sharing your endorsements from across the state to date? It's really important that Democrats hold on to this office.

Please compare with endorsements on the Goodwin website by ...

... going to www.waynegoodwin.org. This is an open invitation to Jumping Granny and anyone else curious about whose support in the Insurance Commissioner race is truly diverse, deep, and broad!

I don't recall seeing a reply from David Smith in answer to Jumping Granny's question, so I decided to at least answer it for my own campaign.

Though endorsements are certainly not a deciding factor in races (nor should they be), they do provide a good look at which candidate folks trust, which candidate folks believe will work in the public's best interests and not on behalf of special interests, and who is best organized to defeat the Republican opponent in the Fall 2008 race. I respectfully contend that my candidacy answers that call.

I will re-send some of what I sent earlier...

When I started law school, I took a job at Blue Cross as a project manager to consolidate their small group enrollment team. Over the course of the next five years, I worked on numerous projects including implementing mental health parity, HIPAA and improving marketing with agents. I was in sales and marketing for the time of my employment and the highest position I held was Manager. I was never in their legal department and this is the only insurance company I've ever worked for.

During my time at Blue Cross, I had become a resource on health insurance and ERISA legal issues for a number of agents (and by extension their clients who are small business owners and their employees) so I left the company to start my legal practice focusing in that area. For the last six years, I have done primarily work with small businesses and individuals throughout the state on issues related to insurance. I have assisted insurance agents, who are sometimes caught precariously between insurance companies and their clients, to assist them with issues related to their businesses. I have never represented an insurance company but have represented a number of people who are insurance agents. But the majority of my work has been helping people understand what the insurance system does and does not do, provide them assistance that they do not currently get from the Department and help them find the best resolution to their insurance problems. I have assisted people with claims that carriers would not pay. I have helped employees and employers understand their obligations to offer continuation.

I am not accepting PAC money and never will. I have accepted contributions from people who are insurance agents and undoubtedly from some people who work in the industry (just as others have done) but none in an amount of more than $200. I wish that it were not necessary but both Democrats in this important primary have had to raise money in order to run a competitive campaign. Does that make me biased? No, no more than it has the current Commissioner or my friend Wayne who have both has done the same thing.

Glad that the website issue got figured out. As you might imagine, the name doesn't make it easy to be Googled (are we required to add a ™ to that yet?).

Questions for David

First of all, welcome to BlueNC. Thanks for joining us.

You filed for the Insurance Commissioner race before the current Commissioner announced his retirement. Did you know before the general public about Long's retirement? If so, what made you decide to run and if not, why were you willing to challenge Long in a primary?

Also, your website notes that you are President-Elect of the North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters, which is a little bothersome to me. On the one hand it means that you understand the industry, but on the other it worries me about the influence that the industry would have on your decisions. How would you address this concern?

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Thanks for this question because I do think certain things...

...have been misrepresented about my relationship to the industry. The North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters (NCAHU) is a statewide (and a national) association of people who sell health insurance and employee benefits and those who wish to market themselves to those individuals. The title "underwriters" comes from an original business term for agents who were responsible for underwriting the business on behalf of the insurance companies. Now that work is done by the insurance companies and the agent is mainly working with their clients (businesses and individuals) to find the best insurance product to meet their needs. I am not however an agent but originally got involved to market myself to agents.

Being President-elect of NCAHU is a reflection of my work and leadership within the organization -- no different than anyone involved in nearly any professional association. It is a group of people with whom I have had a positive relationship and a number of strong friendships. Nearly everyone involved in the association is an independent insurance agent -- people who own their own businesses and work with a significant number of individuals and businesses throughout the state. They have been leaders and innovators on numerous issues related to health care and health insurance regulation because they are the people who have delivered high rate increases for the past ten years and the most "exposed" to the financial crunch that many people buying insurance face day in and day out in North Carolina.

I am proud of my association with NCAHU and the work I've done. I helped work through some industry objections to the high risk pool, which our association has pushed for nearly 20 years and finally got passed last session. I helped make sure that proposed new laws coming before the legislature would favor consumers because that's who insurance agents are most concerned about. And I refuse to be defensive about those relationships because insurance agents are almost always the people who first hear complaints or concerns about insurance companies, products and benefits.

I have heard that the fact that I worked at Blue Cross is worrisome, but that is something I think actually makes me a better candidate because I know how things work, I usually know the person responsible for fixing it and can understand day one how to get those serious issues resolved.

Follow-Up

Can you think of any major issue which you'd disagree with the health care industry on? For example, BCBS has talked in the past about relinquishing its non-profit status--where do you side on that?

Also, I asked a question about Commissioner Long and why you decided to run. I'd love to hear your answer.

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Sorry I missed the second part of that...

I was thinking i had answered it and apologize. No, I did not file before Commissioner Long announced his decision. In fact, I didn't know and had no inside information and filed with 25 minutes to go -- 35 minutes after Wayne had filed. I had a hunch because it was unlike Commissioner Long or any member of the Council of State in North Carolina to wait until the last day to file for re-election. This is job I want to do, I am prepared to do, and ready to work at day one. We need a Commissioner who will make the number of uninsured go down and to stop those who have scammed North Carolinians with fake insurance products and empty promises.I want to extend Commissioner Long's good record on auto insurance rates to those people in North Carolina who need high-quality health insurance and can't afford it and that is the essential difference between me and Wayne.

On the issue of Blue Cross's conversion, I have stated numerous times that I oppose their conversion. In fact, to the People's Alliance in Durham, who endorsed me unanimously last week, I said the following: I would never favor a for-profit conversion by BCBSNC. The allure of the “conversion money” that would come to the state, like the tobacco settlement money, would be seen by future policymakers as just a pool of money to spend on unrelated projects. I do not believe conversion would benefit health insurance consumers in our state because a for-profit Blue Cross would not remain headquartered in North Carolina. In fact, a for-profit company is more likely to be absorbed by the “Blue” Wellpoint/Anthem giant that has monopoly power in far too many states and has already lost most of the original Blue Cross mission of helping individuals to afford health care in their local community.

As Commissioner, I will work to ensure that the public trust is maintained by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and all other health insurance carriers so that health insurance premiums are appropriate and fair, and that appropriate reserves are maintained.

Correction

I just had the opportunity to review the live blog tonight and saw the following statement from David:

"I want to extend Commissioner Long's good record on auto insurance rates to those people in North Carolina who need high-quality health insurance and can't afford it and that is the essential difference between me and Wayne."

So, as I read David's direct quotation, is David alleging (erroneously) that I do not want to promote and accomplish more affordable, high-quality health insurance in NC? I sponsored legislation over 8 years in the General Assembly that moved us further down that on those issues. I also was a primary advocate for the high-risk insurance pool, a model law passed by the General Assembly in 2007 that will help reduce the large number of uninsured citizens who are presently being turned down by health insurance companies as uninsurable. Furthermore, as the Platform and Resolutions Committee chairman for the NC Democratic Party over a number of years, my position on this issue is unquestioned and well-known. ... Not to mention, Insurance Commissioner Jim Long has also endorsed me as the candidate he has sole trust in who can best do the job in the coming years on this and other Insurance Commissioner issues.

Frankly, I do not see how David can honestly say that there is a difference between us on the issue of health insurance affordability, etc. I'm going to assume that he misspoke (or mistyped!) ... Moreover, I have an actual public record over the last 12 years of public service on this vital topic ...

Is there anything that you feel

Jim Long has left undone or that he hasn't tended to in the same way you will if you are elected.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I believe Commissioner has done an admirable job...

...on keeping auto insurance rates however my fear is that if we continue the policies of his administration, we will neglect the biggest economic crisis of our lifetime: the growing number of uninsured in North Carolina. Tragically, we are ranked 13th worst in the percentage of uninsured in the United States. This is disgraceful. The reason I am running for Insurance Commissioner is to find a solution for the nearly 1.5 million uninsured in North Carolina.

Putting you on the spot

What are your ideas for addressing this?

If you don't have time tonight to address this, maybe you can write a post for another time.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

This is admirable Mr. Smith

The reason I am running for Insurance Commissioner is to find a solution for the nearly 1.5 million uninsured in North Carolina.

Have you any ideas yet?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Yes, I do...

As Insurance Commissioner, my role on health care reform issues will be both as an advocate and a watchdog. I have a specific plan that will be released in the coming days and will add a link to it when it is posted along with my new commercial. Thanks!

Wicker endorsement?

Mr. Smith: In various speeches and in your materials you state that you worked in Lt. Governor Dennis Wicker’s administration back in the 1990s. On several occasions it gives the implication that he has endorsed you. Please clear this up. He has not and will not endorse you in your campaign for Insurance Commissioner, will he? Isn’t it true that Alisa Wicker, the former Lt. Governor’s wife, has strongly endorsed your opponent, Wayne Goodwin?

I had heard this before in

I had heard this before in some discussions and I just wanted to know what is the story with it.

Oh, the way you worded your question

it sounded like you were accusing with prior knowledge and not just asking. Thanks for the clarification.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Sorry about that, I could

Sorry about that, I could have probably worded it better; no real inside information I was just curious as to what I heard.

Me too, hope he answers

your question. :)

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Wicker has not endorsed me...

...nor have I sought his endorsement. But to neglect that I worked for him would be some how expressing a lack of respect for the work I did for him and the knowledge I gained from that time. I understand that Wayne asked for his endorsement early on and may have received it. I have a lot of respect for Dennis and the great work he did as our Lieutenant Governor but I don't think that those kind of endorsements matter. I believe strongly that each person should stand on their ideas and their positions and that's what I've done.

Thank you for your answer on

Thank you for your answer on that. Clears it up for me.

Welcome to BlueNC, David

I see you have started. Thank you for agreeing to visit with us to tell us about your candidacy and what you can bring to the office of Insurance Commissioner.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Follow up to an earlier question

Someone has already asked you here at BlueNC about the conflict of interest you might have as both President-Elect of the NC Health Insurance Underwriters and Insurance Commissioner of NC. I have a related question and concern: How can you be President-Elect of a group of insurance agents when you are not an insurance agent yourself? Or, are you an insurance agent? If not, then did the group change the bylaws to accommodate you so a non-insurance agent could lead the group? When did that happen and why? Is there some reason why you cannot or are not a license insurance agent, even one with a dormant license?

I chose to never be licensed as an agent...

...because I work so often with insurance agents and their clients and felt that there might be some concern if I was also licensed to sell insurance.

No, no bylaws changes were necessary -- there is no requirement to be an insurance agent to be a member of the organization. I am proud though that they overlooked my attorney job and chose me as their first non-agent president because of my leadership and commitment to the organization.

If I am elected Insurance Commissioner, I will not serve as President of the Health Underwriters. I have already informed the organization of that decision and will, after I win the primary, likely resign as President Elect since we are going to elect a Democrat as Insurance Commissioner.

Follow up to your response.

You said you would likely resign if you won the primary, why not say definitely? Even if there is not a conflict it could seem to be one.

Did not mean to equivocate on this issue...

The decision to resign if I win the primary has already been made. The issue is simply one of timing and respect for others in the leadership of the organization.

My affiliation with NCAHU is something I am proud of and the work that we've done to get innovations adopted by the legislature and consumer concerns heard. I am the only candidate talking about the issue of the uninsured and the only one with a plan on addressing it. That is a reflection of my work with my clients and within Health Underwriters.

I would note that Commissioner Long has regularly spoken to our organization and sought their feedback and advice on issue. In fact, last week at their annual Symposium, he received an award from NCAHU for his work with the association. Wayne was there too to meet individuals who sell health insurance, at my invitation.

David, if Universal Healthcare is passed

how will that change the job of Insurance Commissioner?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

If a single-payer health care solution is adopted in Washington

the role of Insurance Commissioner will still be one focused on regulation of insurance companies in other industries.

However both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have proposed more market-reform proposals to achieve universal coverage. Either of these proposals would not change the insurance commissioner's job at all in North Carolina as it relates to health insurance since the General Assembly would still need to adopt legislation and the Department of Insurance would still regulate the companies selling those policies because of the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

David, I think there are some follow up questions up above also

I'm not trying to be negative, but I ask this as often as I remember....

What makes you better suited for the job than your primary opponent? your general opponent?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thanks for the follow-up -- missed it from above...

I believe my real world experience in working with people makes me most qualified to serve. What most qualifies me to serve is experiences like last summer, when I was called at the airport in Denver by a lady in Lexington who was getting ready to have a hearing with a carrier concerning her breast cancer treatment. She wanted a less invasive, less expensive type of treatment that the carrier denied because they said it was "experimental." I advocated for her and her health care choice before a panel of doctors on this issue and the panel of doctors overturned the insurance company's decision. She got the treatment that she wanted and was most appropriate for her and that's the kind of advocacy I will bring to the office.

My sense of empathy and my vision for the job (and what is can be rather than what it has been) is why I am better suited than either of my opponents for this position.

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