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April 19, 2011
In This Issue
An Update on H.R. 1206, the Medical Loss Ratio Bill
Deficit Reduction Proposed by President Obama
Republican Budget Recommendations
Bill Preserves Medicare Beneficiary Choice
NAHU Commends Repeal of 1099 Requirement
Long-Term Care Coverage Increasing
Growing Concerns over Independent Payment Advisory Board
Labor Secretary Sends Survey Results to HHS
Berwick Announces New Health Indicators Website
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An Update on H.R. 1206, the Medical Loss Ratio Bill

NAHU continues to make progress on H.R. 1206. As of today, we have 59 cosponsors in the House, 10 of whom are Democrats. Please continue to contact your members of Congress to urge them to sign on since a larger number of cosponsors will speed action on the bill. 

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu is among the growing number of Democrats who have endorsed pulling broker fees out of the medical loss ratio. This past Friday, Senator Landrieu spoke to the Big I conference in Washington and gave some encouraging words: "We require companies to spend 85 percent of their revenues on premiums...the medical loss ratio…and, as I understand it, some insurance companies decided to take that out of the commissions of the agents. That was not our intention and I'd like to work with you to try and fix this."
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Deficit Reduction Proposed by President Obama

On April 13, President Obama announced a long-term plan that he said would lower the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years. Read More

Republican Budget Recommendations

Last week, the House passed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (WI) budget bill for fiscal year 2012, which would defund several aspects of the health reform bill. The vote was 240–185, and three Democrats voted with Republicans: Reps. Dan Boren (OK), Mike Ross (AR) and Mike McIntyre (NC).

The House-passed bill is quite different from the Obama proposal described above. Since Democrats control both the Senate and the White House, it is very unlikely that the Senate would pass a budget with health reform cuts and, even if they did, the president would not sign it (at least in its current form). The president has been visibly and highly critical of Rep. Ryan’s budget bill.
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Bill Preserves Medicare Beneficiary Choice

NAHU strongly applauds Rep. Charlie Gonzales (D-TX) for his introduction of H.R. 1580, which preserves Medicare beneficiary choice by restoring and expanding the Medicare open enrollment and disenrollment opportunities repealed by section 3204(a) of PPACA. This bill would cure the inequities and give Medicare beneficiaries the ability to make the right provider choice to meet their needs. NAHU strongly supports restoration of the open enrollment period pre-PPACA. Read More

NAHU Commends Repeal of 1099 Requirement

As soon as the bill was signed into law, NAHU issued the following statement:

The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) is pleased President Obama signed the repeal of the 1099 provision, a provision that costs more to implement than it collects by the wildly unpopular health care reform provision that puts an unnecessary tax-reporting burden on struggling American businesses. Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires businesses, local governments and nonprofit organizations to file Form 1099s for purchases totaling $600 or more in a tax year. Read More

Long-Term Care Coverage Increasing

On April 14, a 25-state report on long-term care insurance was released by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. The results indicated a double-digit percent increase in the number of residents with long-term care coverage. The data will be published in the organization's 2011 LTC Sourcebook. Read More

Growing Concerns over Independent Payment Advisory Board

This past Friday, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) urged Congress to repeal a controversial provision of the health care reform law that President Obama has said is central to his deficit-cutting efforts. In the president’s deficit speech last Wednesday, he urged lawmakers to strengthen the law's Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which sets Medicare cost targets and recommends payment cuts if they're exceeded. Two days later, Rep. Schwartz issued a "Dear Colleague" letter advocating repeal instead of support. Read More

Labor Secretary Sends Survey Results to HHS

Secretary Solis yesterday transmitted to HHS the Department of Labor's survey of employer-sponsored coverage to determine the benefits typically covered by employers. The survey is based on 2008 and 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Compensation Survey and was accompanied by a transmittal letter. Read More

Berwick Announces New Health Indicators Website

CMS Director Don Berwick announced a new health care database to health care reporters at the recent Association for Health Care Journalists Convention. A new HHS/CMS website called www.healthindicators.gov will be the hub for the Health Indicators Warehouse. Berwick described the website as a “treasure trove” of information that would be “very helpful” to reporters for finding stories. The database is searchable by state, and by 1,600 health indicators. It combines several HHS initiatives toward “better health and greater transparency.” Read More

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