NC campaign 2012: Mike Causey on ObamaCare ruling, campaign trail gossip



I caught up with Mike Causey, Republican candidate for commissioner of insurance, while he was on his way to a speaking engagement DownEast in the big city of Washington (NC, that is).

Causey faces Richard Morgan in the July 17th GOP runoff election.  The winner takes on incumbent Democrat Wayne Goodwin in November.

Causey, of Greensboro, did not have a positive outlook on today’s ObamaCare ruling by The Supreme Court:

“I was really disappointed. I don’t see HOW you could find any of that constitutional.  Right now, it’s pretty unclear how all of this will shake out in the long run  to affect the consumers at the state level.

I’m a big fan of taking power AWAY from government bureaucrats, letting people keep more of their money, and letting them have more choices.  On the face of it, ObamaCare doesn’t appear to allow for ANY of that.”

Causey says one of the best ways to bring health care costs down is to open up the state’s insurance market to more competition. Right now, state government places serious limits on who can do business in North Carolina, and what products they can offer.

Causey says he has been perplexed lately by some gossip on the campaign trail accusing him of being “a lobbyist for the big insurance companies.”

State law requires that anyone speaking to legislators on behalf of a group register with the secretary of state as a lobbyist.  Causey said he did that during the period of 2000-2001.  The Greensboro Republican said he was approached by a group of small “mom-and-pop”  auto glass and body repair shops who were frustrated by the coziness between big insurance companies and certain repair shops:

“I was helping small businesspeople who were frustrated by unfair practices by the insurance companies.  Insurance companies were referring all of their claims to certain body shops they had contracts with.  It didn’t matter what the insurance company’s customer wanted.  They had to take their car wherever the insurance company told them to go.

These small business people knew of my expertise in the insurance field, and hoped that I could help them encourage state government to open this process up and make it more competitive. I was the furthest thing from a mouthpiece for insurance companies.”

Causey has decades of experience in the construction and insurance fields — two areas that interact quite a bit with the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

During 2000-2001, Causey and his clients worked hard to sell the Consumer Motor Vehicle Repair Act to the members of the North Carolina General Assembly:

“We didn’t have the money or the level of clout the insurance companies had.  But we were determined, and ready and willing to work hard. ”

Causey said their hard work paid off in the form of compromise legislation that got signed into law by Governor Mike Easley.  The compromise bill said that the insurance companies could still recommend body shops to their customers, but had to inform their customers that the ultimate decision on where to go was with the customers themselves.

Causey said the experience turned out to be bittersweet:

“On one hand, my clients and I got a lot of recognition for our accomplishment.  We went up against the big guys and came away with a victory for consumers.

Unfortunately, no one in state government has been enforcing any of this.  The state Department of Insurance COULD be putting some heat on the insurance companies to live up to the letter and intent of the law.  But I haven’t seen it.”




4 thoughts on “NC campaign 2012: Mike Causey on ObamaCare ruling, campaign trail gossip

  1. After reading your interview I did some quick fact-checking on Mr Mike Causey. He was not just a paid lobbyist in 2000-2001, as you reported he told you. Causey was also a lobbyist in 1995 through 2009, based on three different sets of records on the website of the Secretary of State. That’s not just one year.

    Next, those same public records show that Causey was the paid lobbyist not just for the body shop owners but also for some other companies seeking payment from insurance companies.

    And then, and this next thing is missing from the interview as far as I can tell, Mike Causey worked for three different insurance companies as an insurance executive, including MetLife, for decades (according to other interviews elsewhere). Causey has thirty years as an insurance company man. I am very concerned about us electing someone from the insurance industry and who has been a lobbyist of any type to be our Insurance Commissioner.

    I’ve heard Mr Causey speak and he’s now asked me to call him so we can work this out. Not sure there’s anything he can tell me that will change my mind. I’m very concerned.

    Oh, by the way, Mr Causey keeps talking about that legislation called the Consumer Motor Vehicle Repair Act. Did another bit of online research. Unless I’m mistaken, his two opponents (Richard Morgan and Wayne Goodwin) for insurance commissioner voted for it back in 2000 or so, and made it a law themselves because they were in the legislature then as elected legislators, not mr Causey. Causey was merely the paid lobbyist. I hope Mr Causey isn’t trying to take credit for that law all by himself. Sigh.

    I do thank you for the interview. The Daily Haymaker is one of my favorite places on the internet.

    1. “Causey has decades of experience in the construction and insurance fields — two areas that interact quite a bit with the North Carolina Department of Insurance.”

      Socrates: His experience in the insurance industry WAS NOT missing from the post. It was also mentioned in a previous interview I had with him.

      Is it a bad thing for a candidate to have experience in the field he is seeking to oversee?

      He didn’t claim he was a lobbyist for one year — and I hope it didn’t come off like that. Causey also didn’t suggest that he passed this all by himself.

      I appreciate your participation here. Please keep reading. But I’m not a big fan of people hiding behind aliases and hurling accusations. Go ahead and post your real name with your comments. (At the very least — if you don’t want your name published — let me know WHO YOU ARE.) I need you to do one of those two things in order to keep posting here.

      I DO make exceptions for people who make great contributions to the site, but are worried about political or employment repercussions.

    2. Hmmm! This smells like something coming out of Richard Morgan’s swamp. I have encountered Causey in Republican politics for decades and he is a solid conservative. I have known Morgan about as long and he has always been a self-serving backstabber. The backstabbing Morgan did to the GOP in his corrupt alliance with Jim Black should disqualify him from any office, and it should have qualified him for a place in the dock beside Black.

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