Welcome to February and a belated Happy Valentine’s Day to all! And I believe the proverbial groundhog is predicting an early Spring! Hopefully that’s true!
Work on a budget deal that lasts until September has pretty much taken up all the air in Congress thus far. And now discussions and possible law suits regarding the president’s national emergency declaration regarding border security has taken the spotlight. With Democrats controlling the House and Republicans controlling the Senate, it is an interesting time for sure in Washington, D.C. How these situations will affect NAHU initiatives is yet to be seen.
NAHU is combatting the call for Medicare For All initiatives with appropriate meetings in D.C. and members responding to Operation Shouts to elected representatives and senators. This is going to be an ongoing battle it seems for the near future.
NAHU continues with their efforts to address the following in this new Congress – 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 was hoped that delay of the Cadillac Tax until 2023, delay of HIT Tax until 2022 and delay of the Medical Device Tax until 2025 would have been included in the overall budget bill that was to be passed by end of the 115th Congress. That did not happen so work continues in the new Congress to bring these items back to the table.
This does mean that even bi-partisan supported “fixes” to the ACA will begin anew in the new Congress. Thankfully NAHU remains steadfast in moving these solutions forward. “Costs” to the budget still remain an obstacle to permanent repeal of some of these issues. However, with Democrats now in charge in of the pertinent committees, it appears it will be more difficult to bring such items to the floor for a vote.
However, it is still expected that the House Democrats will be pushing for various “fixes” to the ACA.
Again, remember that all bills that did not get passed by end of the 115th Congress have to start over anew. This normally entails new sponsors, etc. And it’s likely this will mean working with freshman Representatives and Senators to get their buy in.
State House Update
As reported last month, 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.
Your ISAHU legislative team continues to develop and maintain relationships with appropriate leadership, committee chairs and committee members.
Discussions continue 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 discussions. Any updates on such discussions will continue to be shared.
David Berman was an integral part of working on HB 1444 (Rep Ed Delaney) which addressed payment of navigators and it died in committee. He was also instrumental in the removal of harmful LTD language in HB 1588.
Work on STM bills also continues. Discussions have occurred with Rep Martin Carbaugh and conference calls have occurred with two STM carriers. Further meetings are occurring yet this week. The intent is to expand the number of months of coverage from the current 6 months maximum. David Berman has been leading this effort.
Dwight “D” Hall and David Berman attended the 2019 Indiana Insurance Industry House & Senate Insurance Committee dinner in downtown Indianapolis on February 11th. They had the opportunity to speak with numerous representatives, senators and industry spokespersons during the course of the evening.
As I like to mention every month, the prevention of onerous bills making it through the legislature is due largely 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.
Nothing to report this month. Meetings will be set as needed as more is known on their initiatives in the new 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 now scheduled to be totally completed by the end of the month.
Work continues on the NAIFA – ISAHU Day on the Hill scheduled for Feb 26th at the One America Auditorium and State House Rotunda. ISAHU-PAC Chair – Roger Skinner and ISAHU Co-Legislative Chair – Susan Rider will be the main ISAHU representatives at the event. (Note that unfortunately the event was scheduled at the same time as Capitol Conference due to facility issues.) There are 10 known attendees as of February 19th.
Capitol Conference appointments have all been scheduled for all 11 legislative offices and the normal booklet of information for all IN attendees (22 as of February 19th) will be provided to them before arrival in D.C.
NAHU staff will continue to be a vital part of ongoing discussions with the new 116th 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!