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Benefits Exec: Compromise Might Be Better For Health Insurers

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The Republicans might do better politically if they unite against the Democratic health bills, but health insurers and their customers could come out ahead if the Republicans would make deals, according to Thomas Mangan.

Mangan, the former president of the employee benefits division at HUB International Ltd., Chicago, recently took over from Eric Raymond as chief executive officer of Corporate Synergies Inc., Mount Laurel, N.J., one of the largest independent U.S. benefits firms.

Mangan is not a paid lobbyist, but he said during a recent interview that he recently visited Washington to find out what is happening there.

Much of the hostility between Republican opponents of the Democratic health bills and the Democratic supporters that shows up on C-SPAN seems to be political theater, and some of the most heated battles may be pitting Democrats who want to see less additional government intervention against Democrats who want more, Mangan says.

In part because Republicans have been adamant about opposing the bill at every point, the Republicans are “not invited to the table,” Mangan says.

If the Republicans had been more conciliatory, “they would have had more of a voice,” Mangan says.

Republicans still hope to use procedural efforts, such as filibusters, to block passage of the bill, but Mangan found that Democrats are confident that they will get a health bill through Congress.

“They’re passing something,” he says.

He says health insurers, brokers and employers would much rather see a compromise than to see Democrats improve Republicans’ mid-term election prospects by passing what they believe to be a terrible bill.

But the Republicans have little incentive to try to compromise and fix the bill, because, if a bill passes, “they can run on it next year,” Mangan says.

If some Republicans were willing to vote for the bill, they might be able shape the bill to be less hostile toward insurers and to do more to reduce health care cost inflation, Mangan says.


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