Security Issues In Wake Of Attack Back-Burner Insurance Issues
No words available to this writer can adequately describe the scale of events that struck the United States last Tuesday.
The seemingly parochial issues affecting the insurance industry now pending on Capitol Hill pale in comparision to the security issues that now confront Congress.
Industry representatives declined to speculate on when Congress would return to some of the industry-related issues that remain unresolved, such as revenue matters, a patients bill of rights and insurance regulation.
However, they agree, these issues are now on the back burner.
“The focus of Congress, the Administration and the American people will be with issues directly related to the tragedy,” says David Farmer, senior vice president of federal affairs with the Alliance of American Insurers, Downers Grove, Ill.
“I dont think any public policy issues other than those dealing with security will be considered by Congress for the next few weeks,” he says.
Maria Berthoud, vice president of federal affairs for the Independent Insurance Agents of America, Alexandria, Va., agrees.
“The regular agenda has been dramatically altered by these acts of terrorism,” she says. “I cant imagine any legislation other than that involving security to be considered in the coming weeks.”
Another commentator, who asked not to be identified, adds that eventually, Congress will have to return to business as usual.
But in the meantime, he says, Congress will want to make a public show of unity and put off consideration of controversial issues, such as patients bill of rights and budget and tax concerns.
The life insurance industry is wary that life insurance products could come under attack in the search for revenues with a shrinking budget surplus, he notes.
Non-essential issues, he says, such as insurance regulation, which was widely expected to be the subject of further hearings, likely will not be considered for the forseeable future.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, some insurance-related events were postponed indefinitely.
For example, Families USA, the Washington-based health care interest group, cancelled a press briefing called to oppose proposals to provide an individual tax credit for the purchase of health insurance.