Q & A Time with Ted Metz, Candidate for Insurance Commissioner

Politics

From the League of Women Voters Survey:Ted Metz for Georgia Insurance Commissioner

AS COMPOSED:

1. Describe your education, training and experience that qualify you to be Commissioner of Insurance & Fire Safety of Georgia.

As for the Insurance Commissioner side, I started selling Cancer Indemnity Insurance Plans before graduating from Henderson High School (Class of 1976) and moved into Life Insurance sales during my first two years at DeKalb College. Both companies had training classes for their products and in the basics of Insurance which fit in with my coursework in Business Administration. Seeking some adventure, I enlisted in the US Navy in February of ’79, where I was trained in Aviation Electronics, and among other things, attended Fire Fighting schools. I was honorably discharged in ’85 and started at UGA majoring in BioChem. In ’88 I came back to Atlanta to attend Georgia State and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1991 focused on Human Resources and Risk Management and Insurance. Integral to this curriculum was the study of Federal Regulations, such as Title XVIII, HIPPA, OBRA, ERISA, EMTALA, COBRA and many other laws and regulations that mandate and regulate the Health Care Industry. I have had an Insurance License and have sold Health and Life insurance since 1989. In 2003, I began specializing in Health Insurance for people with Medicare because I recognized that the markets were changing and the Federal Government was forming partnerships with private companies in an attempt to “improve access to care and quality of delivery” and wanted to be on the front lines to help educate Senior Citizens about the “new and improved” health care options. I became expert in the Medicare Prescription Drug Modernization and Improvement Act (MMA of 2003) as well as the Medicare Improvement Act for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA of 2008) in order to provide education and guidance.

As for the Fire Safety side of the office, I have worked in commercial and residential construction over summers and winter breaks before and after my Navy enlistment up until earning my degree from GSU. A builder that I worked for got tired of my constant why questions and gave me a copy of the 1972 ICC codes. Since then, I have read code manuals from BOCA, SBCCI, ICBO and NFPA, just to satisfy my curiosity about how things are supposed to done and why. I suppose I’ve been on a quest to understand how Underwriters Laboratories could certify something with their seal of approval as safe. Architecture, construction, structural integrity in design of things has always been an interest that I have researched since childhood for buildings, cars, planes, boats, ships and more. So, for Fire Safety, having a working knowledge of construction methods and materials in conjunction with a familiarity of the codes from the various organizations that publish them, I will be capable of selecting a qualified State Fire Marshall to properly and thoroughly enforce the Georgia Fire Safety and Building Codes.

2. If elected, what would be your top three policy priorities and how would you work to achieve results?

To be realistic, the scope of legal authority of the OIC is limited to the enforcement of Georgia Law. No authority is granted to write laws or regulations. There is only an opportunity for the Commissioner to present issues and offer solutions to the Legislators and Georgia Citizens. By providing information and education about the quantifiable benefits and cost savings potentials of sound alternative solutions to our current challenges, I would endeavor to influence the Legislature to pass legislation that would solve the root of the problem and not add more complications and burdens to an already faltering foundation. Here are three immediate fixes:

Push to institute a Patient Compensation System to replace the current Medical Malpractice approach which forces physicians to practice “defensive medicine.” Studies indicate that 25% of health care costs stem from avoidance of lawsuits. Tort reform has been discussed for 30 years too long without any significant changes. A PCS would be similar to the way that our workers’ compensation system works, a no blame, administrative process, outside the courts. PwC Health Research Institute concludes that such a system would save Georgians $14 billion per year.

Push to institute the Direct Primary Care model of “concierge care for the little guy” for all Georgians. Several states have implemented such systems with improved care at a cost near $2000 per person per year. This model combines access to primary care with catastrophic health insurance policies along with a Health Savings Account. In other states this model has proven effective at reducing costs while improving individual health and access to care. Implementing a similar system would save Georgians billions of dollars while promoting prevention, early treatment and staying healthy.

Push to reduce regulatory burdens and barriers to entry in the establishment of non-traditional, alternative and experimental treatments, diagnostics and facilities, such as, but not limited to, Cannabidiol, probiotics, coenzymes, etc. Advancements in science should not be impeded, suppressed or withheld from people whom seek such treatment with informed consent by bureaucracies who benefit from maintaining “accepted and approved standards of care.”

3. Georgia is the fifth highest ranking state of uninsured individuals in the country. If elected, what would be your approach to covering the uninsured and do you support or oppose expansion of the Medicaid program in Georgia?

Implementation of a Direct Primary Care model of health care delivery would solve the cost barriers of affordability present in the current health care delivery/health care insurance structure and would eliminate the need for Medicaid expansion by replacing Medicaid altogether with a better and more cost effective system.

4. How can the commissioner better protect Georgia consumers?

Transparency, education and diligence are the 3 main pillars in consumer protection. Transparency means to inform consumers regarding the impact of legislation and regulations in force or in process. Providing educational programs for insurance and Fire Safety and materials about the purpose and how to evaluate the various insurance products sold in Georgia is one of my goals, with online resources, print material and courses for schools and consumers of all ages as well as for use by professional agents. As Commissioner, I will ensure that all staff members are thoroughly trained for their positions to faithfully and diligently execute their duties and job responsibilities.

5. Should the Insurance Commissioner be prohibited from taking contributions from insurance agents and would you support legislation to that effect?

It is my opinion that money in politics is the root of all corruption and that no one should ever be elected if they spend more than 50% of the salary of the office for which they seek. I absolutely suspect that political contributions may lead to special favors, which is why I constantly lament the lack of integrity of most politicians. Because the US Supreme court has ruled that political contributions are protected under the 1St Amendment, any legislation to restrict contributions from any person would be unconstitutional. A moral and ethical person has the option of denying contributions where conflicts of interest are present. I would voluntarily reject contributions that present a conflict of interest.

Condensed! Question 1, edit 1:

The US Navy trained me to pay attention to detail to pinpoint and fix the problem in complex systems with collateral duties of training and supervising others. I earned a B.B.A. from GSU focused on Human Resources and Risk Management and Insurance. Integral to this curriculum was the study of Federal Regulations, such as Title XVIII, HIPPA, OBRA, ERISA, EMTALA, COBRA and mandates and regulations for the Health Care Industry. I have had an Insurance License since 1989. Since 2003, my specialty has been in Federal Programs for people entitled to Medicare. I became expert in the Medicare Prescription Drug Modernization and Improvement Act (MMA of 2003) as well as the Medicare Improvement Act for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA of 2008) in order to provide education and guidance.

I have worked in commercial and residential construction over summers and winter breaks before and after the Navy until earning my degree from GSU. I was given the 1972 ICC codes while in High School. Since then, I have read code manuals from BOCA, SBCCI, ICBO and NFPA, just to satisfy my curiosity about how things are done and why. Architecture, construction, structural integrity in design of things has always been an interest that I have researched since childhood for buildings, cars, planes, boats, ships and more. So, for Fire Safety, having a working knowledge of construction methods and materials in conjunction with a familiarity of the codes, I will be capable of selecting a qualified State Fire Marshall to properly and thoroughly enforce the Georgia Fire Safety and Building Codes.

As Edited, actual submitted verbiage –

1. Describe your education, training and experience that qualify you to be Commissioner of Insurance & Fire Safety of Georgia.

The US Navy trained me to pay attention to detail to pinpoint and fix the problem in complex systems with collateral duties of training and supervising others. I earned a B.B.A. from GSU focused on Human Resources and Risk Management and Insurance. Integral to this curriculum was the study of Federal Regulations, such as Title XVIII, HIPPA, OBRA, ERISA, EMTALA, COBRA and mandates and regulations for the Health Care Industry. I have had an Insurance License since 1989. Since 2003, my specialty has been in Federal Programs for people entitled to Medicare. I became expert in the Medicare Prescription Drug Modernization and Improvement Act (MMA of 2003) as well as the Medicare Improvement Act for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA of 2008) in order to provide education and guidance.

I have worked in commercial and residential construction over school breaks before and after the Navy until graduating from GSU. I was given the 1972 ICC code manual in High School. Since then, I’ve read codes from BOCA, SBCCI, ICBO and NFPA, just to satisfy my curiosity about how things work. Architecture, construction, structural integrity in design of things has always been an area of interest and research since childhood for buildings, cars, planes, boats, ships and more. So, for Fire Safety, having a working knowledge of construction methods and materials in conjunction with a familiarity of the codes, I will be capable of selecting a qualified State Fire Fire Marshall to enforce the laws.

2. If elected, what would be your top three policy priorities and how would you work to achieve results?

The scope of legal authority of the OIC is limited to the enforcement of GA Law. No authority is granted to write laws or regulations. The Commissioner may only present issues and offer solutions to the Legislators and Georgia Citizens.

Push for a Patient Compensation System to replace the Medical Malpractice approach. Studies show that 25% of health care costs stem from avoidance of lawsuits. Tort reform has been discussed for 30+ years and no changes. A PCS would be similar to our workers’ comp system; a no blame, administrative process, outside the courts. PwC Health Research Institute concludes such a system would save Georgians $14 billion per year.

Push for a Direct Primary Care model for all Georgians. Several states run such systems with improved care at a cost near $2000 per person per year. DPC combines access to primary care with catastrophic health insurance and a Health Savings Account. Other states on this model have reduced costs and improved individual health and access to care. Georgians could save billions of dollars and have better care with a DPC system.

Push to reduce regulatory burdens and barriers to entry for non-traditional, alternative and experimental treatments, diagnostics and facilities, such as Cannabidiol, probiotics, coenzymes, etc. Advancements in science should not be impeded, suppressed or withheld from people whom seek such treatment with informed consent by bureaucracies who benefit from maintaining “approved standards of care.”

3. Georgia is the fifth highest ranking state of uninsured individuals in the country. If elected, what would be your approach to covering the uninsured and do you support or oppose expansion of the Medicaid program in Georgia?

Implementation of a Direct Primary Care model of health care delivery would solve the cost barriers of affordability present in the current health care delivery/health care insurance structure and would eliminate the need for Medicaid expansion by replacing Medicaid altogether with a better and more cost effective system. Several states have implemented such systems with improved care at a cost near $2000 per person per year. This model is often called “concierge care for the little guy.” The DPC model combines access to primary care providers with catastrophic health insurance policies along with a funded Health Savings Account. In other states this model has proven effective at reducing costs while improving individual health and access to care. Implementing a similar system would save Georgians billions of dollars while promoting prevention, early treatment and staying healthy.

4. How can the commissioner better protect Georgia consumers?

Transparency, education and diligence are the 3 main pillars in consumer protection. Transparency means to inform consumers regarding the impact of legislation and regulations in force or in process. Providing educational programs for insurance and Fire Safety and materials about the purpose and how to evaluate the various insurance products sold in Georgia is one of my goals, with online resources, print material and courses for schools and consumers of all ages as well as for use by professional agents. As Commissioner, I will ensure that all staff members are thoroughly trained for their positions to faithfully and diligently execute their duties and job responsibilities.

5. Should the Insurance Commissioner be prohibited from taking contributions from insurance agents and would you support legislation to that effect?

It is my opinion that money in politics is the root of all corruption and that no one should ever be elected if they spend more than 50% of the salary of the office for which they seek. I absolutely suspect that political contributions may lead to special favors, which is why I constantly lament the lack of integrity of most politicians. Because the US Supreme court has ruled that political contributions are protected under the 1St Amendment, any legislation to restrict contributions from any person would be unconstitutional. A moral and ethical person has the option of denying contributions where conflicts of interest are present. I would voluntarily reject contributions that present a conflict of interest.

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