Happy Belated St Patrick’s Day everyone! And while I know it was not possible for a normal Celebration, hopefully it was an enjoyable day for all.
The COVID-19 Virus has pretty much taken over all activity on Capitol Hill as you know. And the following actions have taken place lately –
President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law establishing several provisions to protect American workers and assist employers in providing emergency paid sick leave, as well as paid family leave in the case of school closures, for working families impacted by COVID-19.
Following the FFCRA, the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which is aimed at providing direct relief to American taxpayers and businesses. (As this is being written, it’s now up to the House to pass it and get it to the President’s desk for signing.)
HHS and CMS issued guidance recommending providers limit all “nonessential” elective medical and surgical procedures, including dental procedures. HHS, CMS, DOL, and OSHA have made several resources available for consumers, beneficiaries, business owners, medical personnel, and more.
In the midst of COVID-19, several states decided to create new SEPs. Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, Maryland, and Massachusetts announced that they are reopening their health insurance exchanges in an effort to boost coverage and expand treatment for the uninsured.
Cap Con – Ultimately 18 IN members attended. As normal, multiple experts from both industry and political areas provided updates with two highlights being Indiana’s own Seema Verma – head of CMS – and Senator Todd Young both spoke to the attendees. Meetings were held in all 9 Representative and both Senator’s offices with IN members participating in at least two such meetings each. Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Congressman Trey Hollingsworth, Senator Mike Braun and Senator Todd Young all met with members of IN in face to face meetings.
As far as we know, NAHU’s coalition opposing single payer and the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, continues to spread this message via advertising through both television and digital media, underscoring the perils of adopting a single-payer or Medicare-for-All type plan.s
NAHU also continues to work: COBRA as creditable coverage, Prescription Drug transparency, return to a 40-hour work week rule, changes to Medicare Advantage plans, employer reporting improvements, MLR exclusion, etc. Inroads are being made on all the above so stay tuned.
State House Update
Your ISAHU Legislative Team continues to develop and maintain relationships with appropriate Leadership, Committee Chairs and Committee Members.
Nothing new to report on Section 1332 and it was not addressed during the “short session” that ends March 12th. As has been reported all along, all new guidance from D.C. will be a part of any future discussions. Any updates on such discussions will continue to be shared.
The ISAHU Legislative Committee, especially David Berman and D Hall completed their work with State Representatives Donna Schaibley, Martin Carbaugh, Matt Lehman and Senator John Ruckelshaus on various legislative issues especially SB5. While Disclosure of Agent Fees/Commissions as was originally included in HB 1005 was included, the end result was much less onerous to agents/brokers than initially proposed. The final version has carriers providing the information, clarified that the provision only pertains to group health contracts, exempted ERISA groups and excluded any additional Fiduciary responsibility.
This accomplishment was made possible in large part due to relationships in both Chambers built up over the last several years. In addition, some relationships with some of the sister organizations was beneficial.
A change to LTC Partnership Plans will now be assigned to a Study Committee and this will be followed closely over the Summer. Again, ISAHU Legislative Committee member David Berman was very instrumental in bringing possible pitfalls to the attention of needed parties.
As normal, Bose Public Affairs (ISAHU lobbyist) assisted on all these issues.
As I like to mention every month, the prevention of such 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.
Nothing new to report this month.
The Legislative committee continues to reconfirm previously identified specific individuals to be responsible for various product areas of the industry which should lead to better information sharing on an ongoing basis. It continues to be updated and should now be ready for distribution over the next few weeks.
NAHU staff 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 and other members 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 continue to improve the healthcare system for your clients and the general public!
And to end this article, hoping and praying all – you, your families, your clients and the general public stay safe and healthy during this current COVID-19 health issue.
Dwight “D” Hall
ISAHU Legislative Chair