By Janet Trautwein, CEO, National Association of Health Underwriters
We have great news to share! California’s Proposition 45 was defeated on Tuesday by a 60 to 40% margin. This is a huge win for small-business owners, individuals and families in California and across the nation. We recognized the potential national implications of Prop 45 and actively opposed it. NAHU and the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU) were key players in the Agents of Action campaign to educate Californians about this deceptive, flawed ballot measure.
Although a number of states have laws that empower the Department of Insurance to review rates before they are approved, no state has anything like what was proposed in Prop 45. Rather than lower health insurance premiums, Prop 45 had the potential to dramatically increase costs and reduce choice in the individual and small-employer markets. If passed, Prop 45 would’ve gave one politician the power to regulate rates, costs, benefits and treatment options that health insurance covers, thereby opening the door to detrimental regulation of the insurance industry nationwide.
In other general election news, the Health Underwriters Political Action Committee (HUPAC) has achieved a more than 80% success rate in supporting candidates that won. We did lose some strong supporters and champions on both sides of the aisle two nights ago, but we have some new opportunities to forge relationships with new members. Our Government Affairs team is already identifying new members to seek out early to educate about the important role agents and brokers play in our healthcare system.
Currently as it stands, Republicans padded their majority (243) in the House and have taken control of the Senate with a pickup of seven seats, with Alaska still outstanding and Louisiana headed to a December 6 runoff. By then, it could be a nine seat pickup for Republicans to give the Senate GOP a 54 seat majority. The change in Senate leadership will give NAHU an opportunity to advance legislation important to agents and brokers, but this does not mean the road ahead will not be full of challenges. There are many competing requests for attention and the calendar is expected to fill up rapidly. NAHU will work with both parties to advance our legislative agenda in both chambers of Congress. Any legislation moving forward in the Senate will likely need to meet the filibuster threshold of 60 votes so it must be bipartisan if it reaches the floor of the Senate and is signed by the president.
Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all look forward to a fresh start with this new Congress and are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. NAHU will continue to work on your behalf to make sure your voices are heard in the halls of Congress.