Insurance industry producer groups are asking Congress to keep broad health reform efforts out of the budget reconciliation process.
The producer groups — the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, Washington; the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Washington; the National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlington, Va.; and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va.; and the Association of Health Insurance Advisors, a NAIFA affiliate — say the Obama administration and supporters in Congress ought to put any major health reform package through the usual congressional consideration process, and not try to push it through using an accelerated process.
The producer groups wrote the letter because Democrats in Congress are proposing to accept a House effort to include health reform in the budget reconciliation process.
Congress set up the budget reconciliation process to pass budget bills on a streamlined basis. The process protects budget legislation against “filibusters,” or the threat that senators will use endless debate to keep the legislation from getting to the Senate floor.
If a health reform package goes through the budget reconciliation process, it may need just 51 votes in the Senate to pass. If the package goes through the ordinary legislative process, it likely will need 60 votes in the Senate, giving moderate Republican senators more influence over the provisions.