Kim Holland takes national leadership post, Commissioner Doak responds

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published 14-Jan-2011

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) this week announced that Kim Holland, Oklahoma’s immediate past state insurance commissioner, will be joining the group’s Washington office as Executive Director responsible for State Affairs. The association made the announcement in a press release from offices in Washington, D.C. Yesterday (Thursday, January 13), her successor in the state insurance post issued a statement congratulating Holland.

In this new position, the national group said Holland will oversee the Association’s state efforts and play a critical role providing support for the nation’s 39 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies as they work with state officials and national organizations on federal healthcare reform implementation.

“States have an increasingly important and influential role in implementing federal health reform,” said Alissa Fox, BCBSA senior vice president for policy and representation. “Kim’s extensive insurance background and healthcare expertise will be a tremendous asset as Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies work with state officials to implement the law.”

Holland is the first woman elected insurance commissioner in Oklahoma. She was elected in 2006 after having been appointed by Governor Brad Henry in January 2005 to fill an unexpired term.

In summer 2010, Holland led the charge against a controversial health insurance levy sponsors had described as a fee, but which she and her legal team considered a tax and therefore a violation of state legal provisions requiring lengthy legislative deliberation and a vote of the people.

Holland challenged the measure in court, and won the case, a precedent anticipated to save millions of dollars in taxes/fees for consumers.

Holland also held a leadership position with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), serving as Secretary-Treasurer.

“The Blue System has a rich and long history of bringing innovation and high quality coverage to the communities nationwide,” said Holland. “I am excited to join the Association in this role and look forward to working with the Blues to advance solutions that address quality, cost and access to care.”

As a long-time advocate for affordable health insurance, Holland is also highly respected for her efforts to reduce costs and expand access to coverage. She is a former board member of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Oklahoma State Employees Benefits Council.

The organization describes itself as follows: “The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 98 million members – one-in-three Americans.”

Holland was congratulated for her new post in a separate release from the office of Oklahoma’s new Commissioner of Insurance, John Doak,

 “I wish the very best to Ms. Holland regarding her new position,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak. “The Department is excited to have an Oklahoman in such a prominent role. She will play a significant part in insurance reform not only on a national level but, more importantly, here in Oklahoma.”
“The Department looks forward to a good working relationship with the former commissioner,” said Doak. “We have moved beyond the election and continue to stress the importance of working together to bring forth common sense solutions to Oklahoma’s insurance issues.”

In the midst of an unprecedented Republican surge, Doak defeated Holland in the November 2010 election. Along with eight other statewide elected officials, Doak took the oath of office on Monday (Jan. 10).
Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.