Haslam, Alexander defend Insurance Commissioner McPeak

Gov. Bill Haslam has come to the defense of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie McPeak, reports WTVF-TV, which earlier aired a report on her extensive travel on the job – 120 trips since Haslam appointed her to the position in 2011 with expenses paid by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

U.S.  Sen. Lamar Alexander also issued a statement supporting McPeak. Some of her travel has been to Washington, where she met with congressmen and testified before committees – including one chaired by Alexander.

From WTVF:

“Julie’s worked for me for six years. I am very convinced of her professional approach to this in terms of looking out for what’s the best interests of the state,” Haslam explained.

…The governor said someone in his office reviews all travel requests from commissioners. So someone there knew just how many trips McPeak was taking.

Said Alexander in a statement emailed by his staff:

“Julie McPeak has been very effective in working with Congress to solve a real emergency for nearly 200,000 vulnerable Tennesseans as she works to give them options next year and beyond. Unless Congress acts, these Tennesseans who have federal subsidies to purchase insurance in the individual market may have zero options for insurance next year. I’ve invited her to meet with me in Nashville, and at my invitation, she testified before the Senate health committee and again to brief senators.”

Note: Previous post HERE. The station reported McPeak was out of her office on trips for 117 days in 2015, 120 days in 2016.

6 Responses to Haslam, Alexander defend Insurance Commissioner McPeak

  • Mike Farmer says:

    And in the meantime my Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance has doubled from last year to this year. I have never been in the hospital and i am on no medications.

    • Linda says:

      I hear you, Mike. My Blue Cross has also doubled year over year and appears to be going to do the same next year. And, I have such a high deductible that I get no use from it!

  • Norma Shirk says:

    I haven’t noticed Ms. McPeak or her department doing much to convince the idiots in the state legislature to open up Medicaid to Medicaid-eligible adults (who aren’t pregnant, 19 years old or disabled) or to expand Medicaid to the working poor who currently get federal subsidies for the Marketplace. Oh wait, she’s going to meet with Sen. Alexander – another person who thinks Medicaid has no place in Tennessee. Meanwhile, hospitals are broke and rural ones are closing leaving the poor with even fewer options. And people like me pay a fortune for individual policies if I can find a carrier willing to offer individual coverage in middle TN. I wonder if her staff alerts her to these facts of life when she occasionally breezes through the office.

    • Linda says:

      Some people in Tennessee still believe that an able-bodied adult is responsible for taking care of him or herself. There is an old saying about personal responsibility: “It is hard to quit feeding the animals once you start.” People in the U.S. have gotten used to food stamps, Obama phones, public housing and, yes, even health care. I have never gotten any of that for free and my family (my husband, our grown children, and me) have worked hard all of our lives to be responsible for our own fate. More people need to be held accountable for their own lot in life!

  • Michael Lottman says:

    McPeak is as responsible as anyone in Tennessee for the difficulties incurred by the ACA healthcare marketplace and by the low- and middle-income who attempt to buy their insurance on the marketplace.
    She has exercised no control and seemingly has not meaningfully reviewed the rate increases sought by the companies who sell on the exchange; not has she suggested any solutions from the problems that have arisen, or sought the congressional/legislative fixes that might have addressed some of the exchange’s problems. Instead, she has–incredibly, if you ask me–encouraged insurance companies to raise their rates more, not less, than they have requested on their own. I have never heard of a commissione openlyr doing this before, though her outside allegiances may explain it. McPeak has also allowed BCBS to run up its rates by (supposedly) serving ACA beneficiaries in Tennessee’s major urban areas and then to drop out of those high-need areas without adjusting its inflated rates accordingly. It seems to me she has been a good soldier helping to make sure that the ACA’s problems cannot be solved and building a case for repeal with no alternative in mind, all the while enhancing her own reputation.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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