DC official fired after ObamaCare criticism

The Washington, D.C., insurance commissioner was fired Friday after criticizing President Obama’s plan to address the millions of people who have lost insurance on the individual market.

William White was let go by Mayor Vincent Gray’s office after he released a statement critical of the president without first clearing it with the mayor’s office, according to reports.  

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Obama on Thursday announced that his administration would allow insurance companies to reoffer insurance plans through 2014 to the millions of people who have received cancellation notices — even if those plans do not meet the minimum requirements of the healthcare law. 

White issued a statement shortly after the announcement Thursday saying the fix would “undercut the purpose of the exchanges” and would make them more difficult to operate. 

White’s statement no longer appears on the commission’s website. On Sunday, the department issued a press release naming a new commissioner — Chester McPherson — with no mention of White’s departure. 

White said he alerted the mayor’s office after the release went out, and eventually apologized for not clearing the release with the office first. 

“If I had to do it all over again, I would be certain my communications spokesman had gotten some sign-off before we got it out there,” White told The Wall Street Journal

The insurance industry and state commissioners have been skeptical of the administration’s plan. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) said last week it was unclear how the changes can be implemented. 

"[We have] been clear from the beginning that allowing insurers to have different rules for different policies would be detrimental to the overall market," the group’s president, Jim Donelon, said in a statement. 

State insurance commissioners have ultimate responsibility for the proposed changes in their respective states. 

President Obama spoke with former Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), the current NAIC CEO, on Friday about the change.

“The commissioners still have the same concerns,” Nelson told Fox News on Sunday. “Keep in mind, some of the commissioners have already found a way to extend the coverage people currently have into 2014.

“Some have already taken steps comparable to what the president is talking about; others are taking other steps to mitigate against this and others have decided they're not going to follow the president has suggested.”