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Republicans Hope to Attract Some Democrats in Effort to Nix Portions of Health Law

Newly empowered congressional Republicans are planning to advance their arguments to repeal parts of the healthcare reform law, with the help of some moderate Senate...
November 16, 2010

Newly empowered congressional Republicans are planning to advance their arguments to repeal parts of the healthcare reform law, with the help of some moderate Senate Democrats. House Republicans are hoping to force a largely symbolic vote on full repeal of the bill once they take the majority in January. After that, the Republicans will pursue a three-piece strategy: aggressively pursue oversight of the law, repeal what they consider the worst provisions and defund whatever other sections they can. Early targets of repeal include provisions that are either publicly unpopular or that would receive some support from Democrats.

Meanwhile, the White House officially confirmed what everyone assumed: that President Obama would veto any repeal of the healthcare reform law. But shortly after the election, the President indicated a willingness to compromise on repeal of the expanded 1099 reporting requirement that was included as part of the law, calling it "burdensome" to small businesses. PIA has made repeal of the 1099 provision a top priority.

Health insurers and pharmaceutical firms say they want to retain the new healthcare reform law in an effort to create a more stable environment. Speaking at the recent Reuters Health Summit, executives said they need to focus on such problem areas as sluggish health information technology and high costs. Few industry experts believe that the law will be significantly changed despite Republican lawmakers' pledge to repeal the overhaul. Insurers are now awaiting new rules on how much they can designate for medical care versus profits and administrative costs.

What It Means to Agents: The recent turnover in the House of Representatives, combined with a large number of new Governors and Insurance Commissioners, provides all of us in the insurance industry with an opportunity to work to bring about changes in adverse provisions in the new federal healthcare law. Agents and their customers need to know, however, that as of this date, the law and its provisions as passed remain in effect. This may change as the result of new legislation or court decisions (or it may not), but neither has happened yet. Therefore, everybody must continue to comply with the law - until such time as the law itself changes.

Click here to read GOP Seeks Democratic Allies in Healthcare Fight (Politico 11/12/10)

Click here to read Health Insurer Execs Say PPACA is Inevitable (National Underwriter 11/11/10)

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