PAGE 54 don’t see it happening in the near future simply because of the cost associated with the initiative. Should the state set limits on the amount that can be awarded in malpractice lawsuits? Yes, I would sign into a bill into law if it were passed. Do you favor parental notification for teens seeking an abortion? Yes. Do you support the death penalty? I believe there must be an ultimate penalty for our most vicious crimes. I believe that the death penalty is both a deterrent to future crime and just retribution for the families of victims and for society. I strongly support the death penalty. Should Delaware have tougher penalties for those convicted of crimes against children? Yes.
Michael Protack (R) Michael Protack did not return the survey.
Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart (D) Why are you interested in holding this office? I am running for Delaware Insurance Commissioner to set a higher standard – a higher standard in ethics and a higher standard in performance. Let me explain. The primary responsibility of the Insurance Commissioner is to make sure that the claims of policyholders are paid in full and on time. Therefore, I do not accept campaign contributions from executives of insurance companies, insurance company PACs and from companies that have contracts with the insurance department. To do so would be a conflict of interest and, more important, a conflict of interest with all Delawareans. I have authored proposed legislation that, when elected, I will work to enact. It is called the Insurance Consumer Protection Act. Why should voters elect you over your opponents? I have two opponents but the most well funded opponent of the two has extremely limited experience. His funding has come from executives and their spouses of the very organizations he would regulate should he be elected and from a company that has a $20 million annual contract with the department. From the day he graduated college until now he has worked in the insurance department as a mid-level manager, a job he received courtesy of his father who was then New Castle County Chair and an employee of the insurance department. He has never had to meet a payroll, earn a profit, fend for himself or enjoyed the breadth of experience of striking out on his own. When I joined the Insurance Department, I came in as a Deputy Receiver, handled 20 insolvencies as a virtual CEO. I have also owned my own successful businesses, one in retail, the other in insurance regulation, worked for a Fortune 500
MORNING STAR • SEPTEMBER 4 - 10, 2008 company (a subsidiary of Marsh McLennan), managed divisions for major American retailers, founded an international organization (International Association of Insurance Receivers). What do you feel is the top issue facing the office you are seeking? How will you address this issue? The biggest issue facing the Commissioner’s office is the state of health insurance in our state. I feel it is very important that the Insurance Commissioner obtain the authority to review the rates of health insurance companies. Also, by adding a payment process to Delaware’s Health Information Network, our state will benefit from a positive impact in cutting the costs of health care administration while reducing the time in handling a claim. In addition, it is my intention, when elected, to raise the bar to set and meet a higher standard for the quality, the coverage, the technology, the administration and the remuneration for providers of our state health care system. The Uninsured. One in eight Delawareans have no health insurance. I prepared SB 177, the Single Payer Health Care Program for Delaware. I will continue to work for its passage. I will be an advocate, as I have since 1990, for Delaware’s citizens who do not qualify for Delaware’s Medicaid System and do not earn enough income to buy insurance to buy into Delaware’s Medicaid system. It is my intention to develop and implement a “High Risk Pool” in the State of Delaware. I want to increase the age of children eligible to be covered by their parents’ policy from 24 to 29. What do you feel is the second most important issue facing the office you are seeking? How will you address this issue? The second issue involves returning to the Department of Insurance those responsibilities that were once there but then moved elsewhere and increasing the authority of those responsibilities that were returned. These include: The Insurance Department needs more teeth in its authority to enhance its ability to protect the citizens of Delaware. Therefore, the arbitration process, currently regulated by the Insurance Department, needs to be binding and the policyholder’s attorney needs to be paid separately from the policyholder’s award (what is called a lost adjustment expense) as was once done. Stop the transfer of the States insurance program by taking the epilog language out of the budget and leave it in the Insurance Department.
Tom Savage (D) Why are you interested in holding this office? I am interested in holding the office because I believe the office should be a stronger advocate for the consumer. The office should be super diligent in monitoring the insurance industry and spotlighting wrong- Tom Savage doing. The office needs to improve its relationship with the legislature. It should work closely with both Republicans and Democrats.
I believe the Insurance Commissioner’s Office should be more innovative and not wait around until others make decisions and then just agree to carry them out. And I strongly believe the Insurance Commissioner’s Office should be fiercely independent and beholden to no one. Why should voters elect you over your opponents? I think my broad experience in business and public service gives me a strong empathy for the consumer. Those who have worked so long in one office tend to become comfortable and complacent. The status quo is appealing and the attitude of “that’s the way we’ve always done it” becomes pervasive. I am also concerned about the likelihood of favoritism or worse when a candidate has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from people with strong ties to the insurance industry. One of the other candidates has broken the precedent set by his predecessor who refused such contributions. I am beholden to no one. Because of my broad background and experience, I will bring strong management skills and an innovative perspective to the office. What do you feel is the top issue facing the office you are seeking? How will you address this issue? One of the most important challenges for the next Delaware Insurance Commissioner will be to help reduce the soaring cost of health insurance. I would work hard to implement a Single Payer health plan based on income. Under that plan an individual would pay no more than 2 percent of his gross income and a family’s premiums would be 2-1/2 percent. Businesses would pay no more than 9 percent of their gross income. My plan would cover all Delawareans and all their medical expenses including doctors, hospitals, prescriptions, dental and eye care. The program would be run by an independent board, not the insurance industry. So doctors, not insurance companies, would determine the best health care treatment. I believe I would be effective in getting such a plan approved by the state legislature. First, because it’s a good, reasonable, cost saving plan, and second, because I have been working with the legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, as an unpaid lobbyist for the Police and Fire Fighter’s Pension Task Force for the last 20 years. I know how to get things done. What do you feel is the second most important issue facing the office you are seeking? How will you address this issue? The Indian River Bridge fiasco is likely to cost taxpayers additional millions of dollars if the state is not insured against such incompetence. The Insurance Commissioner’s Office has to strengthen its oversight responsibilities in monitoring bonding companies’ contracts on state projects. It appears the contract with the bonding company failed to specify adequate foundation requirements for the footers and compression of the roadway materials. That has now cost the state an estimated $20 million to dismantle much of the completed road construction. Was the omission an error clause so loosely written that the state has no claim against the Bonding Company? These and other matters necessitate closer administrative oversight.
Gene Reed (D) Why are you interested in holding this office? There is no time for on-the-job training. I know firsthand that Delawareans need someone who will listen, take action and get results. Having served the citizens of Delaware with distinction and chairing numerous committees for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, I want to take that experience, commitment and dedication of public service to the next level. The outcome of this election matters. It matters to me as a husband concerned with the overall insurance costs on the family budget and as a father of two teenage drivers. Delaware deserves an insurance commissioner who will fight for them. Why should voters elect you over your opponents? Delawareans need health insurance today. I am qualified to serve on day one. My 23 years of experience in the Delaware Insurance Department and distinguished public service record, by example of receiving the “Regulator of the Year” award from the National Securities and Insurance Licensing Association, uniquely puts me in the leadership position above the other candidates. As the director of Insurance Consumer Protection and Enforcement, I understand the complexities of our insurance issues. Over 30 elected officials in Delaware have endorsed me. They believe in my experience and integrity, knowing I will continue the progress made under Commissioner Matthew Denn. What do you feel is the top issue facing the office you are seeking? How will you address this issue? Our major concern is the inability of consumers to obtain health insurance. As Insurance Commissioner I will work to enact legislation to create a universal health care plan, making health care available and affordable to all Delawareans. Part of an approved health care system can and must focus upon preventative treatments. Chronic illness has also been an issue adversely affecting the cost and denial of health care for years. As your next Insurance Commissioner, I will work as a team with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, legislators on both sides of the aisle, the Health Care Commission and the Chronic Illness Task Force on a comprehensive plan to lower costs and address these issues so that a viable universal health care system is accessible to all Delawareans. My mission as Delaware’s next Insurance Commissioner will be to immediately propose legislation to create a statewide health insurance purchasing pool. I will fight for legislation to allow the Department of Insurance to regulate health insurance rates, expand SCHIP regardless of family income, expand access to coverage for dependent children and young adults up to the age of 28, establish a Medicaid Buy-In Program, and reimbursement for mental health care services. What do you feel is the second most important issue facing the office you are seeking? How will you address this issue? There are many challenging issues that
Published on Oct 14, 2009
BULLETIN BOARD 21 CHURCH 26 CLASSIFIEDS 33 EDUCATION 10 ELECTION ‘08 50-55 ENTERTAINMENT 30 FINAL WORD 59 FRANK CALIO 58 GOURMET 31 HEALTH 1...