Welcome to the end of 4th Quarter! It is always an extremely busy period for all and I hope you all have survived it!
As it may be past Christmas and Hanukkah by the time you read this, may you all have had a truly blessed time with family and friends!
As indicated last month, we all know that the Democrats will control the House beginning in the 116th Congress. And it now appears that Nancy Pelosi will be the next Speaker after some deals made with some of her new members. How this will affect NAHU initiatives is yet to be seen.
Also as indicated last time here in IN, Democrats maintained their two House Seats and Republicans retained their seven seats. This includes two new congressmen – Jim Baird in the 4th District and Greg Pence in the 6th District. In addition, Republican Mike Braun defeated current Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly and will be representing IN beginning January 3rd.
(FYI – ISAHU members Susan Rider, David Berman, and Dwight “D” Hall will be traveling to Washington, D.C. on Jan 3rd to attend swearing-in festivities and will be meeting with the entire IN delegation during that day.)
NAHU continues to push the following – return to a 40 work week rule, permanent repeal of the HIT tax and the Excise/Cadillac tax, allowance of COBRA as creditable coverage, changes to Medicare Advantage plans, employer reporting improvements, HSA changes, MLR exclusion, etc. It does appear that delay of the Cadillac Tax until 2023, delay of HIT Tax until 2022 and delay of the Medical Device Tax until 2025 will be in the overall budget bill to be passed by end of this Congress. NAHU remains the driving force behind these successes. “Costs” to the budget remain an obstacle to permanent repeal.
It is expected that the House Democrats will be pushing for various “fixes” to the ACA in the upcoming session.
And also remember that all bills that do not get passed by end of this Congress will have to start over anew in the next one. This normally entails new sponsors, etc. And some of this will mean working with freshman representatives and senators.
State House Update
As previously mentioned, Republicans maintained Super Majorities in both the House 67 – 33 and Senate 40 – 10 and current Republican Auditor, Secretary of State and Treasurer office holders were re-elected.
All Party Leaders and Committee Chairs and Committee Members have been selected/assigned. As normal, your ISAHU Legislative Team continues to develop and maintain relationships with appropriate Leadership, Committee Chairs and Committee Members.
Discussions continue on setting meetings with appropriate members in the Indiana House and Senate as well as Governor’s Office to discuss promoting Section 1332. The discussions will include such things as the possible use of “risk pool” federal and state funds to encourage more competition from a payer and plan standpoint. Use of non-compliant ACA product offerings is also a possibility. All new guidance from D.C. will be a part of the discussions. Any updates on such discussions will continue to be shared.
As I like to mention every month, the prevention of onerous bills making it through the legislature is due largely to ISAHU’s continued relationships with folks in the Governor’s office, Lt. Governor’s office and Statehouse that support our industry overall. These relationships also directly impact the efforts of our ISAHU Lobbying firm – Bose Public Affairs, plus the efforts of our sister organizations – Big I, PIA, NAIFA, Insurance Institute, IMA, IN Chamber and NFIB. And it also affects the ongoing efforts of several ISAHU members who continue to work on maintaining such working relationships with legislators that may impact support for any legislation of assistance or detriment to the industry.
There’s really nothing to report this month. Meetings will be set as needed as more is known on their initiatives for the upcoming Session.
The legislative committee has identified most of the specific individuals to be responsible for various product areas of the industry which should lead to better information sharing on an ongoing basis. This process is scheduled to be totally completed by early next month.
D. Hall met with Senator John Ruckelshaus on December 4th to discuss Sec 1332 strategies.
David Berman and D. Hall attended the HRCC Holiday Event at the Columbia Club on December 11th. They were able to speak with many House Leaders, Committee Chairs, Insurance Committee Members, etc during the course of the event.
NAHU staff will continue to be a vital part of ongoing discussions during the balance of this 115th Congress. Details are provided in the Washington Updates each Friday. Please be sure to read them which will assist you in responding to your client’s issues.
As always, I would ask you to remember to thank the countless NAHU members around IN and the Country as a whole that continuously put in long hours to ensure the best information possible is being shared with Legislators, HHS, CMS, IRS, DOL, DOI’s and of course other NAHU members. As you know, much of this is always done in anonymity and solely for the benefit of the association, our members and the general public.
And as always – ongoing THANKS to all the Local Legislative Chairs who serve on the Legislative Committee as well as those that serve on other committees. Your service is vitally important and greatly appreciated.
Ongoing simple message – if you are not participating in both PAC’s – HUPAC – our Federal PAC and ISAHU-PAC – our State PAC, then PLEASE do so! Both PAC’s help support activities that really do make a difference in the ongoing legislative battles. Information can be found on the www.HUPAC.org , www.nahu.org and the www.ISAHU.org sites.
I and the rest of the ISAHU Legislative Committee greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with you to continue to promote real market based “healthcare reform”. Please feel welcome to contact any of us at any time.
Thanks for all you do to improve the healthcare system for your clients!
Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays!