On Tuesday, Representatives Billy Long (R-MO-7) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5) introduced H.R. 815, the next iteration of the broker bill, which would remove broker compensation from the medical loss ratio (MLR) calculation. Joining Long and Schrader were 14 other original co-sponsors: Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7), Susan Brooks (R-IN-5), Michael Burgess (R-TX-26), Bradley Byrne (R-AL-1), Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4), Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9), Bill Johnson (R-OH-6), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2), Tim Murphy (R-PA-18), Pete Olson (R-TX-22), Scott Peters (D-CA-52), David Scott (D-GA-13), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-3).
The MLR requirements were designed to limit how much insurance companies can spend on administrative costs. Unfortunately, the way the requirements were crafted, independent insurance agent and broker commissions are included as an insurer administrative cost. MLR requirements began on January 1, 2011, and immediately had devastating impacts on the insurance markets. This legislation would help correct the market and commission problems caused by the MLR requirements and improve consumer access to health insurance agents and brokers. NAHU issued a press release on the bill, which you can read here.
This bill marks the third iteration of the broker bill, which unfortunately has not been able to face a floor vote in either chamber in the past four years. As legislation must be reintroduced into each new session of Congress when it doesn’t pass, we have worked with leaders in Congress to move this issue expeditiously during the start of this new session. Previously in the 112th and 113th Congresses, the bills were sponsors by Representatives Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) and John Barrow (D-GA-12), who resigned and lost re-election to Congress this year, respectively, in addition to Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). Landrieu lost her re-election last year to Bill Cassidy, meaning that we are working to line up a new lead Democratic sponsor for a companion bill in the Senate.
We need your help to get the message out! Adding cosponsors to H.R. 815 will strengthen our message on Capitol Hill about the negative impact the MLR provision has had on jobs across the country. Some of you may have received an Operation Shout earlier this week if your member of Congress serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where the bill will originate and must be passed out of in order to be considered by the full house. Encouraging members of this committee to sign-on as quickly as possible will help us to push the message throughout the Hill and move the bill through Congress. We also want to be sure to send our appreciation to members of Congress who have taken initiative on this issue by signing on as original cosponsors of the bill. If your member of Congress was among them, we encourage you to send an Operation Shout to them today to thank them for their leadership.
We still have a lot of work to do to spread our message and we need your help! In just a week we’ll be hitting the Hill with over 700 members strong to spread the message. But you don’t have to wait until Capitol Conference to let your legislator know. Take action today and send your member of Congress and Operation Shout asking them to support H.R. 815!