WASHINGTON (WJLA) - There's a bit of a shakeup here at City Hall as the man who has been helping oversee the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the District was fired.
No official reason was given, but it is clearly a subject no one want to talk about.
"That's a personnel matter, we're not going to discuss it," said D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.
The matter the mayor won’t talk about is the firing of D.C. Insurance Commissioner William White – and he also wouldn’t address speculation that White was dismissed for criticizing President Obama.
Yet the timing, some say, is dubious.
The President had just made his big pivot, proposing that people should be able to keep their insurance plans he had previously referred to as “substandard.”
Then, White wrote on Thursday:
"The action undercuts the purpose of the exchanges, including the District’s D.C. Health Link by creating exceptions that make it more difficult for them to operate … may lead to higher premiums and market disruptions in 2014 and beyond."
White’s almost immediate firing was confusing to those at City Hall.
"I thought Bill White was doing a fine job as insurance commissioner and I think he was well respected," said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who added that he was sorry to see him go.
White told ABC7 in a phone interview on Monday:
"I'm done with this whole thing. I just want to go forward."
He also said that the situation has been “spun out of context,” but declined to comment further.
White had a significant say in what D.C.’s healthcare system would offer. Officials say it is still unclear whether their program will follow the President’s proposal.
White has already been replaced by Chester McPherson, Deputy Commissioner of Market Operations. There is reportedly no timetable for when officials will decide if they want to allow those controversial policies to be sold here in the District.
A statement on the Affordable Care Act issued by White on Thursday was quickly removed from the city's website, and all references to White have been removed from the website for D.C.'s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.