By Dwight “D” Hall, ISAHU Legislative Chair
Welcome to 2015 folks! I hope that you all had a very happy Holiday Season.
As you know, both Washington, D.C. and the Indiana State House are back in session so the legislative process for 2015 has begun. And remember as Will Rogers once said – “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”
Just as a reminder, here’s the results of the November election –
Senate – GOP 54 – Democrats/Independents 46
House – GOP 248 out of 435.
Senate – GOP 40 – Democrats 10
House – GOP 71 – Democrats 29
There continue to be political events and fund raisers at both the State and Federal levels. It’s very important that ISAHU be present at a select number of these and members of your Legislative Team do our very best to participate when cost effective to do so.
Some of the recent events attended:
- Hall, David Berman, Bill Robinson, Kristen Kaweck, Mike Miles and Susan Rider were guests at the Insurance Institute of IN Legislative Reception on January 7th. Meetings took place with various industry and Legislative personnel during the event.
David Berman, Susan Rider and D. Hall were in D.C. on January 6th to participate in some of the Swearing In Ceremonies. While there, we were able to meet with all seven GOP House members personally and also met with Congressman Andre Carson’s wife at his office. We also met with Senator Dan Coats and stopped by Senator Joe Donnelly’s office.
With every election cycle, many of the Capitol Hill staffers move on to other opportunities. We were able to obtain the new scheduler and legislative aide information from all offices which will be extremely helpful for the upcoming NAHU Capitol Conference.
By attending such “group” functions as described above, we are able to stretch HUPAC, ISAHU-PAC and association/individual member dollars to the maximum.
As I try to remind folks, please remember that our elected officials are always in need of hearing your concerns on healthcare (and other issues as well.). They particularly are looking for actual stories from you, your clients and prospects that outline either pitfalls or successes regarding ACA. Anything we can share with our elected officials regarding areas of expertise – healthcare and otherwise – is important. Please share with them when you can.
As you know, Open Enrollment for ACA started on Nov 15th and it appears that the www.healthcare.gov site continues to work much better than last year. Hopefully those of you who have and continue to utilize it for your clients are having a much better experience than before. Please feel welcome to share your successes and frustrations with the site with your Local Legislative Chairs so they may share with the State Legislative Team.
The new members of the 114th Congress were sworn in on January 6th out in Washington. And we’re beginning to see the new Congress take action on various fronts. One item already passed in the House 252 – 172 is the HR30 – Save American Workers Act introduced by Congressman Todd Young from Indiana’s 9th District and Democrat Dan Lipinski from IL.
The Senate version S. 30 – 40 Hours Is Full Time Act has been introduced by Senator Joe Donnelly – D – IN and Senator Susan Collins – R – Maine. No hearing date has yet been set by Senator Lamar Alexander.
With Senator Mitch McConnell now leading the Senate, there is a much greater possibility that legislation passed by the House will receive hearings in the Senate. There undoubtedly will be many Healthcare related bills coming from the House that will impact ACA so this will be an interesting session for sure.
As always, please continue to read the Newswires and Legislative Updates that come from NAHU. It’s absolutely the best information available for your use.
State House Update
The “Long (Budget) Session” started Jan 6th and is scheduled to end by April 29th. Still at this point, there is no indication that there will be any major health care issues brought forward. And due to the make up of both the House and Senate, this should not change. This success is due to ongoing efforts of the ISAHU Lobbying firm – Bose Public Affairs, efforts by the Legislative Team and our relationships with other “sister” associations like Big I, PIA, NAIFA, IMA and NFIB. Updates will be provided as any information becomes known.
ISAHU will again be sponsoring ISAHU Day On The Hill. It will be held Jan 19th at the One America Auditorium in downtown Indianapolis beginning at 8:15am and will include a Panel Discussion from local healthcare experts in the morning and the NAHU Self-Funding Certification Course in the afternoon. More on this available online now.
I know I make a statement on this every month, but I feel it to be important that we recognize how genuinely blessed we are to have our NAHU staff watching out for us in D.C. There is no question they continue to be the absolute top folks in D.C. on healthcare issues and Congress relies on them on an ongoing basis. In addition, please remember how blessed we are to have those countless NAHU members around the State and Country 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 NAHU members. Many of these folks do this in anonymity and solely for the benefit of the Association, our members and the general public. If you know of any of our members who serve in this fashion, please thank them every chance you have.
And a special end of year THANK YOU to all the Local Legislative Chairs and those that serve on their committees. Your service is both needed and vitally important.
And of course I have to mention our PAC’s – both HUPAC and ISAHU-PAC. Your financial help is needed to fund both of them. Fund raising cycles never end for candidates at both the State and Federal levels. And of course they were especially important during the final weeks before the election. Both ISAHU and NAHU do an excellent job of supporting candidates that support the industry as a whole. All dollars collected go toward that goal. Using those dollars, we have been very successful particularly here in Indiana in getting legislators elected that have and will continue to support the vast majority of industry goals.
As has been mentioned, each election cycle pretty much depletes both of our PAC’s coffers. We need to replenish them for ongoing political events and the next election cycle. If you’re not already contributing, please find forms either available in the newsletter or at nahu.org . Put a monthly contribution on your credit card as many of us do and it really is a painless process. It’s a small price to pay to support activities that really do make a difference in the ongoing legislative battles.
Note again that ISAHU-PAC is on a fiscal year from July 1 – June 30th each year. So if you are not on a monthly contribution plan, please consider getting on one or making your 2014 – 2015 contribution in your usual manner.
I and the rest of the ISAHU Legislative Committee truly do appreciate the opportunity to work with you to help promote real “health-care reform”. Please feel welcome to contact any of us at any time.