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Hamm meets with Obama about health reform

FARGO — North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm was among state regulators who met Thursday with President Barack Obama and his top advisers about their shared roles in implementing health reform.

The meeting in the East Room of the White House lasted more than an hour, and state insurance regulators met at the president’s invitation to discuss preparations for the upcoming 2015 open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act.

Hamm was allowed to speak first because he is president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

“Today’s meeting was an important opportunity to reiterate that states are best equipped to balance the access, cost and geographic variables that exist in their distinct insurance markets,” Hamm said.

The meeting was detailed and productive; the president pledged to work closely with state insurance regulators, Hamm said.

“It was a very in-depth meeting on a number of issues,” he added. “He did use the word partner. He wants to partner with the states.”

The meeting comes the same day that Obama announced private insurance enrollment has reached 8 million people 8 million as a result of the Affordable Care Act, adding, “this thing is working.”

“I’ve said before this law won’t solve all the problems in our healthcare system,” Obama told reporters at the White House. “We know we’ve got more work to do. But we now know for a fact that repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit, raise premiums for millions of Americans and take insurance away from millions more.”

Obama was joined by high-level advisers in the meeting, including Vice President Joe Biden; Kathleen Sebelius, outgoing secretary of health and human services; and Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“Overall, I think it was a great meeting,” said Hamm, who has been an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act. “It was a great exchange.”

Hamm was one of 44 chief state insurance regulators at the meeting.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Patrick Springer

Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to

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