Members of the National Association of Health Underwriters are in Washington this week to try to educate policymakers about how they believe the Affordable Care Act is really working, or not working.
The Washington-based agent group is holding its 2017 Capitol Conference as a new secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, is settling into his new post as a cabinet secretary.
Price, an orthopedic surgeon who has been representing Georgia in the U.S. House, was a key player in an earlier insurance industry fly-in: He was a lead sponsor of H.R. 2733, the Indexed Annuities and Insurance Products Classification Act of 2009 bill. Price’s efforts helped issuers of indexed annuities persuade Congress to classify indexed annuities as state-regulated insurance products, not securities.
This year, NAHU is holding its conference as a new president, Donald Trump, has been trying to change the ACA with executive orders, or to find a way to get a full ACA repeal bill and some kind of ACA replacement bill through Congress with just a majority vote in the Senate. Backers of legislation normally need the support of at least 60 senators to get a bill other than a budget measure through the Senate.
At the Capitol Conference, NAHU is featuring many of the kinds of calm, polite lawmakers who might be able to round up 60 supportive votes for the right bill in the Senate.
The list of speakers includes Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
But the real point of the NAHU conference has been to send NAHU’s most active members, armed with their communications and sales skills, into the halls of congressional office buildings.
Many members used their social media streams to showcase photos of them standing with lawmakers, including both Republicans who support the ACA and the kinds of Democratic lawmakers who have been strong supporters of the ACA.
Mark Gaunya, for example, showed off a selfie of himself and a colleague standing with Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass.
Four members of the Southern Arizona Association of Health Underwriters appeared in a selfie with Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.
Nine members of NAHU, including one in a ten gallon hat, crowded into a photo, posted by Cliff Stubbs, with Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a medical doctor who has spoken often about the need to improve Medicaid enrollees’ access to care.
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