Slideshow NAHU's 2011 Capitol Conference

  • February 22 2011, 12:00am EST
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Voss: An epiphany at HHS

Susan Voss, NAIC President and Iowa Insurance Commissioner, believes that the leadership at HHS has had “an epiphany … they want this law to work, and now know that it can’t without agents,” she said. However, she believes, “health care reform isn’t going away. We’re always going to be working on these issues together.”

Ario: A role for brokers

Joel Ario, director of HHS’ Office of Insurance Exchanges, voiced his belief that there will be a role for brokers in PPACA’s health insurance exchanges. “If the exchanges are going to work, agents will have to be involved” in them, he said. “The rules should be the same both inside and outside the exchanges,” Ario told the attendees.

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Rogers: Rewrite MLR rules

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) told NAHU attendees that he is working on a bill that will address brokers’ specific concerns about PPACA, especially the MLR rules. “You can’t read this law and not come to the conclusion that part of the intent was to eliminate health insurance brokers,” Rogers declared.

Selinsky: Spread the word back home

Steven Selinsky, NAHU President, thanked the 700-plus attendees for making their concerns known to their representatives in Congress during the three-day conference, and encouraged them to get clients and peers to do the same when they return home.

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Bound for Capitol Hill

During the conference, many of the attendees also went to the Capitol to meet with their senators or representatives. Their purpose: to voice their concerns about PPACA and its implementation.

Schlesinger: 2011-2012 NAHU president

Mel Schlesinger, NAHU’s president-elect for 2011-2012, introduced one of the 11 speakers who addressed the NAHU conference.

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Harned: PPACA must be overturned

Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Legal Center, noted she expects the Justice Dept. to appeal the recent Florida court decision, in which NFIB was a plaintiff. “The Constitution needs to be taken seriously” by Congress and the President, Harned declared. “This goes far beyond the bounds of health care. That’s why this law must be overturned.”

Begich: Fix PPACA, don't repeal it

Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) explained that he will “work to fix what’s wrong” with PPACA, but does not support repealing it. Begich wants to make sure that brokers are part of the system, recalling his success in cutting the medical trend to nearly zero while mayor of Anchorage with the help of the city’s broker.

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Popper: High risk pool underway

Richard Popper, Deputy Director for Insurance Programs at HHS, explained to NAHU attendees the design and functioning of HHS’ Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, established to create a high risk pool to cover individuals who cannot obtain or cannot afford health coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

Andrews: Four problem areas

Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) listed four areas of PPACA that “need to be worked on”: ensuring there is a role for brokers and agents; moving agents to the medical expense side of the MLR equation; fixing the small business tax credit, which currently excludes an owner’s family members from the threshold headcount; and ensuring that “we work together to fully utilize PPACA’s wellness provisions.”

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Roskam: An attack on insurance market

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), voiced his believe that “the political left is really good at incrementalism. Their intent [with PPACA] is, I believe, to constrict, and constrict, and constrict, until there is nothing left of the health insurance market.”

McCarthy: Small business will drive recovery

House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) thanked NAHU members for lobbying members of their congressional delegations and praised them for persevering as small business owners. “If we’re going to get this country moving again, it’s going to be through small business,” he said.

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Harris: Change on the Hill

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), told NAHU attendees that PPACA “was passed on politics, not on policy.” Vowing to ensure that the law’s 1099 provision is repealed, he noted that “the change that America demanded in November is palpable in the halls of Congress.”